Literature Connections:

The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns

Mathematical Strand:



Students will build on their understanding of geometric shapes.

Grade Level:

First Grade

Lesson created by:

Jeanie Glessner

Lesson Description:

  • Materials: The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns
  • Pattern blocks, paper pattern blocks, gluesticks, pattern sheets from textbook for each different Activity, textbook Investigations in Number, Data, and Space by Susan Russell, Douglas Clements, and Julie Sarama, Dale Seymour Publications, 1998


  1. Engage: Teacher will read the book to the class. During the reading, point out to students that shapes can change the number of sides and points that they have and that some shapes can be put together to make another shape.
  2. Explore: After reading the story, the teacher will give each student some pattern blocks and copies of the "fill-in the shape" sheets from the textbook. Explain to the students that they may fill in the shape using whatever pattern blocks they choose. The student will record at the bottom of the sheet specifically how many of each kid of pattern blocks that they used in their design for a total number of blocks used.
  3. Elaboration: Students will use creativity to create their own design using a specific number of pattern blocks, as specified by the teacher or sheet. Another activity will have the students fill-in the shape outline three different ways. As the students are working, ask them if they think they can use more or fewer pattern blocks. The students will be asked to make observations about their creations and be able to share their thinking during design with the group. Such questions to ask could be, "Do you think that 5 is the fewest number of blocks you could have used in this outline? Why do you think so?"
  4. Extension: Students will choose their favorite from the above mentioned three activities. The students will use paper pattern blocks to complete their favorite, by gluing the paper pattern blocks into place.

Pattern blocks could also be used as an introduction into fractions in first grade since equal parts are needed to make the whole shape.

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Copyright 2001 S.Ma.R.T.Books and Kansas State University