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Name of Activity:

Shape Catcher

Purpose of Activity:

To use various locomotor skills to identify and recognize the attributes of two dimensional shapes.


Spatial awareness to travel without collisions, variety of locomotor skills, shape attributes

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

Laminated 4-inch cutouts of the following shapes: 5 sets of circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, pentagons, 10 -12 cones for boundaries. Take home worksheet

Description of Idea

The large open gym space needs to be set up with 5 cones on each side of the gym marking a large boundary area to run in-between. Each student will randomly be given one of the 5 shapes (circle, square, rectangle, triangle, or pentagon) to carry as they travel up and down the gym. One student needs to be selected as the Shape Catcher. the Shape Catcher will start in the middle of the gym area. All other students will start at one end of the marked-off space.

The teacher will start by calling out different attributes of the shapes. The student will determine if the attributes apply to their shape and if it does they will need to travel (in the designated way but we recommend starting out by walking) to the other end of the space, trying not to be tagged by the Shape Catcher.

There will be three rounds of attributes used:

* 1st round will be identification of shapes (If you are a triangle, travel by running. If you are a pentagon, travel by crawling)
* 2nd round will focus on shape attributes (If you have 2 sides, travel at a low level, If you have 4 corners, travel at a medium level)
* 3rd round will focus on shape relationships to other objects (We use this shape to tell us what time to go to so travel backwards, We view the beautiful world outside through this shape ...window/ rectangle so travel sidewards).

The Shape Catcher will try to tag appropriately as many movers as he/she can each time. If the mover is caught they now become part of the Shape Catcher's team and try to tag other movers. When all but 6-8 students are left that have not been tagged, start a new round with a new Shape Catcher and have the students exchange shapes, so they get lots of practice with the academic concept.

Vary the way the students travel each time by using different levels (high, medium, low), pathways (straight, curved, zigzag), locomotor skills (run, walk, crawl, skip, jump, leap), directions (forward, backward, sidewards). The Shape Catcher must also travel the same way as the moving group to make is fair for trying to tag the other runners.

Attributes for each round:

1st round: triangle, circle, square, rectangle & pentagon

2nd round: 2 sides, 4 sides, 5 sides, 4 angles, 4 corners, 5 corners, no corners, no sides, 2 long sides & 2 short sides, 4 equal sides, 4 right angles

3rd round: we write on this each day (rectangle/desk), we use this to tell time (circle/watch), the letter V looks like this shape (triangle), I sharpen my pencil in this shape (circle/pencil sharpener), a sticky note is this shape (square), This shape is on a school crosswalk sign (pentagon).

See attached take home worksheet to reinforce shape recognition.

Assessment Ideas:

Add in 3 dimensional shapes for older students

See attached take home worksheet

Teaching Suggestions:

Strategies to help the kids be successful:

focus on traveling to the open space without collision (discuss the strategy of looking for open spaces, and how to use pathways to travel successfully through to the opposite end of the gym).

Also, have the group discuss the strategies for the Shape Catchers to use which would be to spread out and fill up the entire space (only thing this group can not do is get into a straight line acorns the area).

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Students with special needs can adjust the way they travel, so as to give them a way to participate with the group, others could also push wheel chair bound students

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Submitted by Debbie Stevens-Smith who teaches at Clemson University in Anderson, SC. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 3/13/2015.

Viewed 13843 times since 3/12/2015.

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Shape Catcher