Teaching Quadrilateral Classification

Quadrilaterals are so tricky! Think about it … all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares? Not to mention the fact that there are three definitions of a trapezoid! What??? Memorizing definitions is not enough for kids to fully grasp the concepts. To really understand quadrilaterals, students have to explore a variety of four-sided polygons and classify them according to their attributes.

The printables and resources in Classify It! Exploring Quadrilaterals will make it easy to engage your students in collaborative, hands-on learning experiences to learn how to classify quadrilaterals. Here’s what’s included:

  • Quadrilateral Classification Pretest and Posttest
  • Mini lesson with practice printable for introducing quadrilateral characteristics
  • Types of Quadrilaterals mini poster, foldable and interactive notebook page
  • 12 polygon task cards with answers
  • Cooperative learning sorting activity for activating higher-level thinking and discussion
  • Classify It! game for challenging students to apply newfound knowledge
  • Black and white versions of all student printables
  • 3 different versions based on trapezoid definitions (exclusive, inclusive, and British English)

Click the links to preview each version of Classify It: Exploring Quadrilaterals:

Free Quadrilateral Classification Quiz

To find out how well your students understand quadrilateral classification, administer the free Classifying Quadrilaterals pretest. This free pretest uses the “exclusive trapezoids” definition, so keep this in mind when scoring it.

If your students have difficulty with this concept, they would benefit from the activities in Classify It: Exploring Quadrilaterals. Start with the introductory lesson and then move quickly into the quadrilateral sorting activity. This activity will get your students talking about quadrilaterals in ways that will help them explore and master the concepts. It’s almost as if your students are teaching themselves!

Finally, teach your students to play Classify It! This game is a more challenging variation of the sorting activity that requires students to apply what they’ve learned about quadrilaterals as they compete for points. Students earn points for correct answers, but they lose points for incorrect answers which discourages guessing. After several rounds of the game, your students will be able to classify any quadrilateral, no matter how tricky!

Skeptical? Administer the Classifying Quadrilaterals posttest and compare the results to their pretest scores. You’ll be amazed at how much your students learn in just a matter of days!

Classify It Game Set Up and Sample Pages

What are teachers saying about Classify It: Exploring Quadrilaterals?

“I saw the greatest impact of this activity with my low group. They were able to grasp the concept of using attributes when identifying quadrilaterals. They came into the lesson with the misunderstanding that all trapezoids looked the same. By the end of the sorting activity, they were able to look at any quadrilateral and classify it without me asking about the attributes. I see this game as a great math station activity or even assessment during guided math.” ~ Jennifer Watkins, 3rd Grade

“The game was a success! My students loved it, and I heard many groans when I told them that it was time to put it away! My kids loved that the kid who got an answer wrong had to pay, as I put it! They also liked the fact that it wasn’t the same person who led every time. It was like it clicked today, especially when it came to the trapezoids. The kids were making all kinds of observations. One even noticed that the trapezoid that they weren’t used to seeing looked like half of the trapezoid that they were used to seeing. The math talk was amazing today!” ~ Sheldon Jordan

“Love this resource! I used it as a center in class, then the students made their own copies to take home and play for homework during a short week of school. I especially love how the kiddos can get instant feedback by checking their answers.” ~ Kayla C.

“My kids had a blast with this! It is perfect for small groups or partner work. I love that the kids actually can manipulate the pieces and really dive into what does and does not describe a shape. The variety of shapes really lets me know who gets it! Great product and easy prep!”