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Design a Frame

Designing frames is a fun way to explore geometric features.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
    Grade 3
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Encourage students to look at picture frames of different shapes, sizes, and designs. Discuss the similarities and differences among them, using math vocabulary to describe the shape of the frame, the sides and angles, and the size comparison (ex. twice as long, half as wide).
    2. Imagine the classroom is a frame design business. Each student is a designer hired to create a unique frame. What kinds of shapes could the frames be? Work together to create a table of names of plane figures and number of sides and angles. Talk about regular and irregular figures and invite children to draw some examples of regular and irregular figures on individual dry-erase boards using Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons.
    3. Provide rulers and dry-erase crayons for students to use to design their own one-of-a-kind frames. Students can make their figures regular or irregular. Ask students to leave the inside of their frames empty, but to add as many details as possible to the frame itself.
    4. When all frames are finished, invite children to show their frames to the group. Ask children to move around the room to compare their frames and form groups of frames with similar features. Each group can share which features they have in common.
    5. Ask children to describe their frames in math journals or on lined paper. Suggest that children use math terms to describe the shape, sides, and angles of their frames. Remind children to include details about the features their frames have in common with other frames in the classroom.
  • Standards

    LA: Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

    LA: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade level reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    MATH: Reason with shapes and their attributes.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

  • Adaptations

    Invite children to draw pictures in their frames! Self-portraits or partner portraits could be fun!

    Introduce shapes and polygons by reading The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns. Have children create two frames on their dry-erase boards and then write stories about how one frame was transformed into the other by the shapeshifter.

    Gather data about the frames created. How many are triangles? Circles? Rectangles? Turn data into bar graphs or picture graphs using dry-erase crayons on a large dry-erase board.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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