Resources for PreK-8 Activity 1 – The Shape of Things

As humans we depend on all of our senses—touching, tasting, hearing, smelling, and seeing—to gather impressions of our environment. Our brains sort out the diversity of sizes, colors, and shapes that we see. In this activity, students will focus on the many shapes that are found in both natural and built environments.

This is one of 96 activities that can be found in PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide. To get the activity, attend a training either in person or online and receive PLT’s PreK-8 Guide. Below are some supporting resources for this activity. 


Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals, while building upon concepts learned in this activity, with the following children’s book recommendations:


Try a simple variation of this activity to engage children in the outdoors at home. Download this fun and easy-to-do family activity.


The following tools and resources may be used to enhance the activity.

  • Leaf Shapes

    Leaf Shapes (pdf) – Use these leaf outlines with the “Dance with leaves” group experience. If you are unable to collect real leaf examples from your home or schoolyard, consider using these colorful photographed alternatives.

  • Video Demo: The Shape of Things

    Watch the Shape of Things Demo 1  video (11 minutes) created by Danielle Ardrey, Colorado PLT Coordinator. This video provides questions and examples of a shape necklace.

    Watch the Shape of Things Demo 2 video (5 minutes) created by Joanne Alex, a Maine PLT Facilitator.

    In PLT’s The Shape of Things, students will focus on the many shapes that are found in both natural and built environments.

  • Cut-out Shapes

    Use this labeled shape template for a triangle, circle, oval, diamond, star, rectangle, and square to make shape necklaces or bracelets.

  • Nature’s Alphabet

    Where is A? Where is Z? Under a rock? In a tree? Go outside and see.  Invite children to use this pictorial guide to discover the alphabet in nature.  

  • Find Nearby Trails and Parks

    AllTrails is a free app that helps users discover the outdoors. Use it to find a hiking path suitable for children, to search for local places to bike or fish, or to plan a national park visit.

  • Life: Magnified

    Life: Magnified was an exhibit of scientific images showing cells and other scenes of life magnified by as much as 50,000 times. The exhibit was on display at Washington Dulles International Airport’s Gateway Gallery from June 2014 through January 2015. The supporting Life: Magnified website features high-resolution version of all 46 images in the collection along with longer captions than in the airport exhibit. In this online gallery, you’ll see cells from all around the body–brain, blood, eyed, skin, liver, muscle. Each type of cell teaches different lessons about how life works. 

  • Rooted in Math

    Use this Rooted in Math infographic from NEEF to make some quick calculations, such as the number of gallons of water you use every time you take a shower, or the pounds of CO2 emissions by a lightbulb.