Today we are going to start our unit on shapes. The one thing I want you to keep in mind through this presentation is that shapes are all around us. We are going to explore our surroundings from top to bottom to find many different shapes in interesting places. Shapes can be found where you least expect them. Before we begin our journey, lets get a better understanding of what a shape is.
There are many different shapes. Shapes can be described by how many corners or vertices they have and by how many sides they have. We can talk about what shapes look like or how big shapes are. Shapes come in many different sizes and today we are going to explore the specific characteristics of certain shapes and where we can find them in our everyday lives.
Shapes can be found in many objects that we use everyday. The shapes that we are going to be looking for today are squares, triangles, circles, rectangles, and trapezoids. Each of these shapes have unique characteristics. Remember that characteristics are used to describe what something is like. Now lets find out how to describe each shape.
Lets learn about the square. All squares have four sides and four vertices. Vertices is the correct mathematical word that means the same thing as corners. When we are talking about shapes, it is important to use the correct mathematical language. Another fact about the square is that all its sides are the same length. Squares can be both big and small!
The triangle is another shape that we will be learning about. All triangles have three sides and three vertices. Some triangles have sides that are all the same length, which are called equilateral triangles. But a scalene triangle has no sides that are the same length. There is a third type of triangle called an isosceles triangle where two sides are the same length. Triangles also come in many different sizes and can be small or large.
Now we will learn about the circle. Circles are round and may remind you of many different foods, such as cookies, pancakes or an entire pizza. A circle is made up of a single curved line. By moving your arm in a continuous motion like this, (point finger and move in a circle) you can create an imaginary circle. Circles can be as small as a penny, or as large as you can imagine!
The next shape we are going to learn about is the rectangle. A rectangle has four sides and four vertices like a square, but unlike the square, the sides of a rectangle do not have to all be the same length. In both rectangles and squares, the vertices must be 90 degrees. Rectangles and squares can also be said to have all right angles, which is the same thing as saying that the vertices must be 90 degrees.
The trapezoid is the next shape we will be talking about. Like rectangles and squares, trapezoids also have four sides and four vertices. What makes a trapezoid different, is that two of its sides are slanted. Trapezoids, rectangles, and squares can all be called quadrilaterals. For a shape to be considered a quadrilateral, it must have four sides and four angles. Later on we will see many more quadrilaterals!
One day I went for a walk around my neighborhood in Baltimore city. I brought my camera with me because I wanted to capture the many shapes that we see in our everyday lives. Some of these shapes are ones that I have already been talking about, but we are going to learn about some other shapes as well! I want everyone to always be on the lookout for shapes in interesting places. So lets see what shapes I found…
Before I even left my garage, I had begun my journey to find different shapes. The first shape that I found was a circle. I found this circle on my dad’s motorcycle. This is a picture of a wheel, and without wheels, a motorcycle wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. I began to realize that shapes are important and that I will come across many different shapes that have many different purposes.
I continued the walk to the front of my house. As I took a big stretch and looked up to the top of my house, I saw one shape staring back at me many times. The shape that I kept seeing more and more of was a rectangle. Each window was the shape of a rectangle, but those were not the only rectangles I saw. Each window was made up of rectangular window panes.
I continued to walk down my street and was stopped by another shape. This stop sign that is pictured is an octagon. An octagon has eight sides and eight vertices. This stop sign is a regular octagon, which means that all the sides are the same length and all the vertices are the same size. Stop signs are important because they keep cars from running into each other!
On my walk I passed a school. To let everyone know that a school was close by, a sign was put up that said school zone. This shape may not look like a square, but if you were to turn it a little bit, you would see one of the shapes that were pictured earlier, a square! All four sides are the same length and this sign lets people know that they should be careful because they are in a school zone!
On that same street I encountered a shape that we have not talked about yet. This shape has five sides and is called a pentagon. This sign lets people know that they need to watch for people crossing the street. As you can see, many different shapes are used as signs to give people messages everyday. This is one of the many uses of shapes!
Throughout my journey through my neighborhood, I was able to take many pictures that showed quadrilaterals. It is important to remember that a quadrilateral is any shape that has four sides and four vertices. Signs can be quadrilaterals. This lamppost is also made up of many different quadrilaterals. A fence and a machine show examples of quadrilaterals too!
From each different view I took of the harbor, I could pick out new shapes. As I was climbing Federal Hill, which is a large hill in Baltimore city, I could see many different shapes. I could see a row of triangles and a building that had many squares in a row at the top of it. Another building had rectangles piled high. I was able to see all this before I even climbed to the top of the hill!
As I continued to look across the Baltimore harbor, I noticed was how many different shapes I could pick out. The first shape that jumped out at me was the trapezoid on top of one of the buildings. I also saw one really big triangle that looked like it was made out of many different pieces of glass and then another triangle that made it seem like a building was wearing a hat!
Buildings are good places to look if you want to see a lot of shapes. On the top of this building there is a metal structure that contains lots of triangles. While I was walking I tried to count all of the triangles, but there were too many to count! Maybe someday I will spend some time looking up at that building and try to count all of the triangles that I see, but I may need some help!
I finished my walk before it got dark, but later that day as I was looking out my window I saw that I could find shapes at night too. Most things were hard to make out, but one shape was hard to miss. On the right side of this photograph that I took, the lit up domino sugars sign is a great example of a rectangle. During the day the sign is visible, but at night it really shines!
Shapes can also be found in nature. The images shown are two pictures that I took of my cat Tiger. The shape that stands out to me the most when I look at Tiger are the triangles that are his ears. Tigers’ ears show how shapes can be found in nature. Shapes can be found in many different places and it is important to always be on the lookout because you never know where you will find an interesting shape!