5 Manipulatives For Teaching Quadrilateral To Beginners

Last Updated on April 1, 2022 by Editorial Team

Please Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure (link) for more info.

A polygon with four sides and angles summing up to 360 degrees is a quadrilateral. Now, simply take a manipulative of quadrilateral-shaped structure in hand and try to revisit this statement. The latter is surely going to feel like a cakewalk. It is precisely why the manipulatives have risen to a higher reputation among both the teachers and students. In simple terms, the manipulative sifts the learning hurdles and offers pure concepts to absorb to the geometry beginners.

Let’s explore in this post:

  • List of manipulatives to teach quadrilaterals easily
  • Role of manipulatives in teaching quadrilaterals
  • Conclusion

Here we go!

List of manipulatives to teach quadrilaterals

1. Plastic pattern blocks

Plastic pattern blocks

A common question that may appear in children’s minds is where the quadrilaterals are used. By doing various activities using pattern blocks, you can answer this question with undeniable proof. The basic use of geometry lies in building shape intelligence in beginners. Activities based on pattern blocks allow kids to explore their creative side and understand concepts like balance and symmetry.

This manipulative offers active learning to build confidence in identifying and making patterns. Learners can achieve a better grip on principles of quadrilaterals and employ them in producing balanced and stable patterns. Make a pattern using color-coded blocks and find fractional values, or employ the blocks to produce newer shapes, the learning is bound to stay with kids for long by doing several engaging projects. With regular practice and minimal intervention, you can see the child grooming into a shape-aware individual.

2. Cuisenaire Rods

Cuisenaire rods

Cuisenaire rods are one of the most versatile math manipulatives available. This manipulative offers an effective intervention tool for imparting practical knowledge of various math concepts to growing learners. In this set, you will find colored Cuisenaire sticks which have different lengths. While transitioning from the concept of length to making quadrilaterals, this manipulative offers awesome learning support. The manipulative teaches balancing to play games like Jenga, make mazes based on quadrilateral shapes, and also do creative designing by arranging these sticks in different ways.

Acquiring ease with quadrilaterals is one of the reasons for employing manipulatives in teaching the related concepts. One may start with explaining the Cuisenaire rod as a concretized example of a quadrilateral (a rectangle to be precise), and then allow kids to dig deeper and come up with various shapes. Spatial intelligence, motor skills, and better ease with geometry concepts are a few crucial outcomes of using this manipulative. These skills help kids transition smoothly to complex problems on quadrilaterals and provide a relatable introduction to structures.

3. Tangram


Tangram is an engaging puzzle that typically uses 7 structures or ‘tans’ to create new patterns. It stimulates the brain to think about various spatial arrangements but within restrictions. Hence, you learn to follow rules and to structure thinking according to the given set of limitations. It works as an effective manipulative to teach about quadrilaterals by allowing kids to explore this structure’s relationship with other figures. Concepts like How triangles are added to make a quadrilateral or vice versa, and the plane-space relationships become easier to grasp by solving tangram puzzles.

Tangram puzzles allow kids to master spatial and structural intelligence required for grasping quadrilateral concepts. It offers a friendlier introduction to quadrilaterals and ignites intellectual curiosity among kids. Usually employed as an engaging activity, tangram puzzles can allow deeper introspection into parallelogram and square, which are two of the 7 ‘tans’ included in a set.

4. Geoboard


Manipulatives offer a doable alternative to drawing with pencils. If the child struggles with holding pencils or making shapes on paper, the next best alternative is available in the form of a geoboard. In this board, a set of latex bands and a pegged board are provided. Since the pegs on the Geoboard are placed 1 cm apart, you can understand how the measurements look like in tangible form. Geoboards help develop a sense of structures and boost motor skills.

It may also be useful for demonstrating how the quadrilaterals of various types differ. You can provide the kids with cues and ask them to present the quadrilateral concepts based on the cues on Geoboard. An enhanced sense of familiarity with quadrilaterals allows forming a sturdy base that eases the understanding of little more complex problems based on these four-sided figures.

5. Puzzle game

Puzzle game

The relationship among geometrical patterns becomes easier to understand by playing puzzle games. The main role of puzzle games in teaching quadrilaterals is to help children learn how to differentiate between structures and their properties. In the pattern puzzle that I have chosen, the kids are given cue cards, and their challenge is to copy the cue pattern the fastest.

Puzzles like this offer a preparatory activity that offers young learners an approach better than memorizing definitions and properties. By the way of actual construction, the kids acquire a practical understanding of figures and the way these can be arranged in patterns. With every building block added to a pattern, kids move up the knowledge level and create intuitive learning patterns in their minds. The visual presentation of puzzles and patterns helps train the mind to grasp planar orientations, etc., which learners come across at an advanced level.

Role of manipulatives in teaching quadrilaterals

Quadrilaterals are geometric figures. Beginners do feel a bit boggled when introduced to geometric terms and definitions. The manipulatives offer concretized presentation of concepts. It benefits in the following ways:

  • Manipulatives help appreciate the relevance of learning geometrical figures. Children can understand that the geometric figures are something they will deal practically in real-life scenarios too. By showing how quadrilaterals form integrating elements of various structures, manipulatives bridge the gap between understanding and application of concepts.
  • Manipulatives promote conceptual learning effectively. Since a lot of gamified activities are possible to do with manipulatives, young learners can grasp difficult concepts like symmetry, congruence, etc. without feeling the stress.
  • Manipulatives allow to learn by collaboration. When the teachers or parents and students participate to create a structure with manipulative, they exchange ideas and add to each other’s learning too.
  • Manipulatives boost creative thinking required to understand and apply quadrilaterals. Enhanced spatial intelligence allows learners to accustom themselves with perceptual variability and create more practical shape patterns in which quadrilaterals are employable.


Quadrilaterals are an important concept that needs fair and complete understanding. To help students with different learning paces and abilities, manipulatives are employed. With a better approach and an intelligent mix of activities possible to do with manipulatives, teachers can achieve enhanced outcomes. It is advisable to use both manipulative and non-manipulative teaching sessions so that conceptual understanding and application ease remain at a balanced level.

Leave a Comment