2nd graders aren’t known for their desire to sit still. Lean into their desire to get out of their seats with these geometry activities for 2nd grade students will inspire even your wiggliest learner to remember the difference between a hexagon and a quadrilateral.
Build With Math Tools (and More!)
Create a super simple, quick to set up math activity by providing your students with cards showing a picture of each 2D shape you are studying. Given a variety of materials you already have around your room, ask your students to build the shapes. Base ten blocks, linking cubes, legos, straws, even pencils all make fine materials for this activity. I have a (free) set of cards for you to use here!
Another easy way to set up this activity is to laminate 2D shape cards and provide your students with a small container of playdough. They can then model directly on top of the cards.
Hide & Seek Geometry Activities
Take a simple activity such as a shape sort (quadrilaterals vs. not quadrilaterals) and spread the shapes to be sorted around the room or around a section of your classroom. Students need to move their bodies to find the pieces and then bring them back to a central location where the sort headings are located. Consider using this type of activity at the small group table. With a small number of students “playing” at the same time, you will have time to talk to students as they gather shapes and bring them to you! This will give your students the chance to use math vocabulary to justify the place they are sorting their shapes and you will be able to provide immediate feedback.
Playing games like “I Have, Who Has?” can be done sitting at desks… but it can also be done in a circle outdoors!
If you haven’t played “I Have, Who Has”, cards are prepared ahead of time which pose a question. For example “Who has a polygon with 3 sides and 3 angles?” The student who’s card starts with the phrase “I have a triangle!” would then read the response and the bottom of their card which poses a new question.
Pass out cards while your students are standing in a circle. As students read their “I Have, Who Has” cards aloud, students will sit down only when their card has been read.
Keep It Simple
In small groups, you can add movement to any math center by using this simple strategy: The teacher is the hub!
Rather than keeping all of your students at the small group table, position them near the small group table. This might mean on the floor with a clipboard nearby, standing at the counter by the water fountain, sitting at the windowsill, or any other novel place you have nearby.
Each time your students are ready for a new problem on their math center they need to visit the teacher at the hub (the small group table). They might visit you to roll a dice, to grab a card, to spin a spinner- whatever it is that happens during that math center happens at the hub- and they then return to their workspace to complete the actual task.
So simple. So effective!
Just a bit of movement is built in and you have the added bonus of your students coming to you between each example so you can check in with their work as well!
This structure is only recommended during small group time. 4-5 students coming to you between each problem is very manageable. The whole class? Not so much!
Try These Geometry Activities for 2nd Graders
This set of 7 geometry activities is unique! Each of the activities includes a hands-on “playable” version. Run them as traditional math centers or use the tips above to make them even more compatible with your wiggly learners! Each activity also includes a companion paper/pencil task that can be used as morning work, desk work, homework or even assessment! You’ll find these activities included:
- Sorting Quadrilaterals vs. Non Quadrilaterals
- Naming Polygons
- Polygon Attributes
- Creating Rows & Columns
- Identifying Equal Pieces
- Identifying Halves, Thirds & Fourths
- Naming Basic Fractions