Teach Your Students How to Classify Quadrilaterals

how to teach classifying quadrilaterals
get free 3rd-5th grade lessons delivered to your inbox

Welcome to this comprehensive lesson plan for teaching 3rd-5th grade students how to classify quadrilaterals! In this lesson, you will find step-by-step instructions and activities that are designed to help your students gain a better understanding of the concept of classifying quadrilaterals. You will learn how to introduce the concept, guide your students through the process of identifying different types of quadrilaterals, and provide them with practice opportunities. With this lesson plan, you can be confident that your students will gain an understanding of how to identify and classify quadrilaterals in no time. So let’s get started! Plus, there’s a free quadrilaterals flip book that you can use alongside the notes here.

Step 1: Define Quadrilaterals & Introduce Classifying Quadrilaterals

Begin by explaining that all quadrilaterals have four sides and four angles, but there are different kinds of quadrilaterals. Provide time for students to brainstorm any shapes that they know of that might fit this definition and create a list on the board.

Step 2: Identify Types of Quadrilaterals

Introduce the four basic types of quadrilaterals and explain how they differ. Provide examples or visuals to help students understand the characteristics that differentiate them. Be sure to review the definitions for each type and give a few examples of real-world objects which would fit into each category.

The four basic types of quadrilaterals are:

  • Rectangle – All angles are right angles and all sides are equal.
  • Square – All sides are equal, and all interior angles are right angles.
  • Trapezoid – One pair of parallel sides and two non-parallel sides. Two pairs of adjacent angles are supplementary.
  • Parallelogram – Opposite sides are parallel, and opposite angles are equal.

There are a few other quadrilaterals that your students will work with. These are:

  • Rhombus – All sides are equal and opposite angles are equal.
  • Kite – Two pairs of adjacent, congruent sides; one pair of non-adjacent, congruent sides. Both pairs of opposite angles are supplementary.
  • Irregular Quadrilateral – A quadrilateral with no regular properties.

Here are some real-world examples of each of the different quadrilaterals:

  • Rectangle – Windows, doorways, playing cards, graham crackers
  • Square – Postage stamps, dice, tiles, cheese crackers
  • Trapezoid – Tables that are wider at one end than the other, the roof of a house
  • Parallelogram – Flags, credit cards, envelopes
  • Rhombus – Diamonds on playing cards, kites
  • Kite – Kites
  • Irregular Quadrilateral – Pieces of paper cut out into random shapes and sizes.

Step 3: Practice Classifying Quadrilaterals

Provide students with a few worksheets or printouts of quadrilaterals that they must classify into one of the categories you listed in Step 2. Allow time for them to work individually or in groups, depending on your preference. As they finish each exercise, review their answers and provide guidance when needed. You can also provide students with a sorting activity and have them sort shapes into categories.

Step 4: Introduce Other Shapes

At this point, you can introduce other shapes that may be confused with quadrilaterals such as triangles, pentagons, or hexagons. Discuss how these shapes are different than quadrilaterals and why they are not classified as quadrilaterals. Again, you could use a simple “Quadrilateral” and “Not a Quadrilateral” sort for this activity.

Step 5: Summarize & Review

Reinforce the lesson by summarizing what students have learned about the different types of quadrilaterals and how to classify them. Ask questions or provide additional examples if necessary, and encourage open discussion to ensure that students understand.

When everyone seems comfortable with the material, provide a few practice exercises or problems for students to work through on their own. This will help them develop the skills needed to accurately classify quadrilaterals in the future.

Continued learning suggestions for classifying quadrilaterals:

To extend the lesson, you could have students create their own quadrilaterals and classify them as one of the different types. You can also introduce more complex shapes such as pentagons and hexagons in order to help students understand how these shapes are related to quadrilaterals.

Also, you could challenge your students by having them create a quadrilateral scavenger hunt. Have them use basic shapes to draw different types of quadrilaterals around the room or outside and have other students try to find them. This will help reinforce their understanding of the shapes!

By following this lesson plan, you can ensure that your third- fifth grade students have a strong understanding of how to classify quadrilaterals. With practice and review, they’ll be able to identify different types with ease!

Grab a free lesson for classifying quadrilaterals!

Get access to my ENTIRE library of 3rd-5th grade lessons and activities – including every single new resource that I publish.

join the upper elementary teacher community for access to endless lessons for 3rd-5th grade

Make sure you pin this lesson plan to Pinterest so other teachers can find it too!