What are Composite Shapes?

Learning about what composite shapes are is a first grade, Common Core math skill: 1.GA.2. Below we show two videos that demonstrate this standard. Then, we provide a breakdown of the specific steps in the videos to help you teach your class.

Prior Learnings

Your students should be familiar with the Kindergarten skill of naming regular shapes (i.e. squares, circles, triangles, etc.) and using formal and informal language to analyze and compare the shapes (K.G.1-3). They should also be familiar with making simple shapes to form larger shapes (K.G.6).

Future Learnings

This 1st grade skill of understanding halves and fourths will help your students when they move onto 2nd grade. By understanding halves and fourths, your students will be able to work with, draw, and analyze shapes. Your students will learn to identify more complex shapes: triangles, quadrilaterals, hexagons and cubes (2.G.1).

They will also be able to cut shapes into equal parts and deepen their understanding of “part and whole relationship,” explaining that a whole can be made up of parts (i.e. three thirds, four fourths, etc..) They will also learn that the “equal shares of identical wholes” do not need to the same shape to equal each other (2.G.2-3).

Common Core Standard: 1.GA.2 - Compose two-dimensional or three-dimensional shapes to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from the composite shape

Students who understand this principle can:

  1. Use two and/or three-dimensional shapes to create new shapes. 
  2. Name a composite shape and also identify each shape that forms it.
  3. “Solve shape puzzles, create shape designs, and maintain a shape as a unit.”

2 Videos to Help You Teach Common Core Standard: List Standard

Below we provide and breakdown two videos to help you teach your students this standard.

Video 1: Using Shapes to Build Shapes

 The video shows how you can use standard shapes to make new shapes. It also demonstrates how standard shapes can work together to make other standard shapes. 

The video uses squares, triangles, rhombuses, hexagons, and trapezoids to make other shapes. 

The first example shows 4 differents ways that other shapes can be used to make a hexagon.

  1. 6 triangles fit together to make a hexagon. 
  2. 1 trapezoid, 1 rhombus, and 1 triangle work to make a hexagon.
  3. 2 trapezoids can be used to make a hexagon. 
  4. 3 rhombuses work to make a hexagon.

Students are shown how to make the same shape in 4 different ways. They also are shown that the shapes may need to be flipped or turned in order to fit a hexagon. Additionally, students can see that there are even more ways to combine shapes to make a hexagon.

The video then provides additional practice for students to apply what they have learned. 

  1. First, students are asked to find 3 pattern blocks to make a trapezoid.
  2. The video uses 3 triangles to make the trapezoid.

Video 2: Identifying Basic Shapes in New Shapes

The video starts by explaining that some shapes can be made by combining other basic shapes. It then demonstrates an L shape which is composed of a rectangle and a square.

The video then explores new shapes and determines what other shapes make them. First, Boddle looks at a house that Carl built; it is made up of a rectangle and a triangle. After, Boddle gives students a chance to identify the basic shapes in composite shapes.

  1. A T shape is made out of 2 rectangles.
  2. A parallelogram shape is made out of 1 square and 2 triangles.
  3. A right-pointing arrow is made out of 2 rectangles and 1 triangle.
  4. A diamond ring-like shape is made out of 4 triangles and 1 circle.

Want more practice?

Give your students additional standards-aligned practice with Boddle Learning. Boddle includes questions related to Comparing and Measuring Lengths plus rewarding coins and games for your students to keep them engaged. Click here to sign up for Boddle Learning and create your first assignment today.

*Information on standards is gathered from The New Mexico Public Education Department's New Mexico Instructional Scope for Mathematics and the Common Core website.