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Geometric Cabinet

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A wooden cabinet with six drawers and one presentation tray, each painted blue inside and containing six wooden squares of wood. Most of the wooden squares have a figure cut out with a knob in the center by which to hold it. When the cut-out figure is lifted, the blue background shows the shape of the cut-out.

Presentation Tray: equilateral triangle, circle, square.

Drawer 1: six circles, varying in diameter from 10 to 5 cm.
Drawer 2: six rectangles, varying in size from 10 by 10, to 10 by 5 cm.
Drawer 3: six different types of triangles: equilateral, isosceles, scalene, right angle, acute, obtuse
Drawer 4: six different regular polygons, from pentagon to decagon.
Drawer 5: four curvilinear figures: oval, ellipse, curvilinear triangle, quatrefoil.
Drawer 6: four rectilinear figures: rhombus, parallelogram, right trapezoid, isosceles trapezoid (May also include a chevron and a kite.).

Three sets of cards for each figure:
One set with complete shape filled in.
One set with a thick outline of the shape.
One set with a thin outline of the shape.


  1. Invite the child to the lesson. Have the child carry the presentation tray with the square, circle, and triangle to the table.
  2. Sitting towards the middle right of the table, with a subdominant pincer grip, lift the square inset out of the frame. With your dominant hand, use two fingers to trace around the edges of the inset.
  3. Place the inset down on the blank yellow space adjacent to the frame.
  4. With your dominant hand, trace the inside edges of the frame.
  5. With your dominant hand place the inset back into the frame.
  6. Repeat this process for all three shapes.
  7. Invite the child to perform the exercise by tracing the insets and frames.
  8. Now, remove the three insets from their frames, one by one.
  9. Randomize the shapes.
  10. Ask the child if he knows the names of the shapes, if not, proceed with a three-period lesson.
  11. Ask the child to place the insets back in their frames.

Exercise 2: Three Contrasting Shapes

  1.  On another day show the child the drawers.  
  2. Start by placing the presentation tray on the floor in front of the drawers. 
  3. One by one, remove the insets and frames from the tray and place them on the empty shelf on top of the drawers. 
  4. Show the child how to carefully open the drawers, using two hands on the knobs and pulling slowly.  
  5. Go through the drawers and get three new shapes that are contrasting, preferably one polygon, rectilinear and curvilinear. 
  6. With the new frames and insets in the tray go to a table. 
  7. Ask the child if he knows the names of the shapes, if not, tell him the corresponding names. 
  8. Let the child repeat the same steps from the presentation tray; picking up the inset, tracing it, placing it down, tracing the frame, and putting the inset back in its frame. 
  9. Then let the child randomize the insets and match them back to their frames.

Exercise 3: Exploration of the Drawers

  1. Invite the child to the lesson. 
  2. Let the child know that it is acceptable for him to take out and use an entire drawer on a rug. 
  3. Invite the child to perform the same steps as before; picking up the inset, tracing it, placing it down, tracing the frame, and putting the inset back in its frame. Repeating for all insets. Clean up.

Exercise 4: Cards

  1. Starting with the card deck that has the complete shapes filled in, pick three cards and place them on a rug. 
  2. Ask the child to find the insets that matches the shape on the card and place them on the card. 
  3. Let the child do this for all three cards. 
  4. Invite the child to put the insets back in their spots and proceed to move onto three new cards, replacing the other cards back into the deck. 
  5. Make sure the child finishes the first deck of cards over a course of time before he moves onto the second and third deck of cards. 


Exercise 1: same as presentation
Exercise 2: Three Contrasting Shapes
Exercise 3: Exploration of the Drawers
Exercise 4: Cards


May be offered when child can visually discriminate shapes. Triangles need sequence of presentation, introduce sides with names equilateral, isosceles, scalene, on another day introduce right angle, acute, and obtuse. 

Control of Error

Child’s visual discrimination.

Direct Purpose

Visual discrimination of geometric shapes, enhancement of visual memory.

Indirect Purpose

Preparation for mathematics and geometry. Preparation for hand writing.


3 1/2 to 5


Be sure to use contrasting shapes when giving lessons, as shapes that are too similar may cause confusion.

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