Puzzling with polygons

8 - 10 years
Ideas to help your child practise their numeracy skills - with you, and online
Children's hands playing with coloured 3d shapes

Developed in partnership with Education Services Australia

The Australian Curriculum sets the goal for what all students should learn as they progress through their school life. Skills in the Year 3-4 curriculum include:

  • identifying and describing features of two-dimensional (2D) shapes
  • sorting and naming polygons (2D shapes with only straight sides)
  • identifying and describing line symmetry (where one side of a shape that is divided down the middle looks exactly the same as the other side, as in a mirror)
  • recognising regular polygons (all sides same length and all angles same size) and irregular polygons
  • visualising, combining and separating shapes to make new shapes.

It’s easy to help your child practise these skills as part of everyday life – just use these simple ideas.

Identify shapes

Is your child perplexed by polygons? Stumped by symmetry? Next time you are looking at picture books, walking around the supermarket, cutting up old magazines or visiting an art gallery, just ask your child to:

  • find symmetrical shapes and work out where their lines of symmetry are (dividing the shape so that the two halves match up like a mirror reflection)
  • find objects which have two or more lines of symmetry, such as squares
  • find shapes that are asymmetrical (not symmetrical)
  • find polygons (2D shapes with only straight sides) and name them – eg triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, octagons.

Tangrams are a great way to have fun combining polygons. These traditional Chinese puzzles contain seven standard pieces which can be combined to create a square, or to match specific shapes or pictures, or to create new pictures. If you don’t have a tangram set, a quick internet search will show you how to make a set, and lead you to plenty of tangram puzzles, games and apps.

Go online

For online reinforcement, Polygons will give your child practice at:

  • understanding and naming polygons.

Shape sorter: polygons will give your child practice at:

  • identifying the common features shared by a set of shapes
  • sorting shapes by features.



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Last modified
7 April 2020