Module 2: Exploring shape and space

Section 1: Exploring shapes

Key Focus Question: How can you help pupils develop and use a mathematical vocabulary for shape?

Keywords: object; shape; geometry; language; classification; open-ended activities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • used open-ended sorting activities to explore knowledge of shapes;
  • explored practical ways to introduce pupils to the language or ‘register’ of mathematical terms;
  • used practical activities to develop pupils’ understanding and use of mathematical descriptions of basic geometric shapes.


Investigating shapes or exploring geometry with your pupils can be very rewarding. Using a practical approach and objects from the pupils’ environment can help to raise pupils’ motivation and interest.

In this section, you use objects from everyday life to help pupils develop important geometrical skills, such as recognising, visualising, describing, sorting, naming, classifying and comparing.

1. Exploring and classifying shapes