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NSW Syllabuses

Mathematics K–10 - Early Stage 1 - Measurement and Geometry Two-Dimensional Space


A student:

  • MAe-1WM

    describes mathematical situations using everyday language, actions, materials and informal recordings

  • MAe-2WM

    uses objects, actions, technology and/or trial and error to explore mathematical problems

  • MAe-15MG

    manipulates, sorts and describes representations of two-dimensional shapes, including circles, triangles, squares and rectangles, using everyday language


  • Students:
  • Sort, describe and name familiar two-dimensional shapes in the environment (ACMMG009)
  • identify circles, triangles, squares and rectangles in pictures and the environment, including in Aboriginal art (Problem Solving) CCTAHC
  • ask and respond to questions that help identify a particular shape (Communicating, Problem Solving) LCCT
  • sort two-dimensional shapes according to features such as size and shape
  • recognise and explain how a group of two-dimensional shapes has been sorted (Communicating, Reasoning) CCT
  • manipulate circles, triangles, squares and rectangles, and describe their features using everyday language, eg 'A square has four sides' L
  • turn two-dimensional shapes to fit into or match a given space (Problem Solving)
  • make representations of two-dimensional shapes using a variety of materials, including paint, paper, body movements and computer drawing tools ICT
  • make pictures and designs using a selection of shapes, eg make a house from a square and a triangle (Communicating)
  • draw a two-dimensional shape by tracing around one face of a three-dimensional object
  • identify and draw straight and curved lines
  • compare and describe closed shapes and open lines L
  • draw closed two-dimensional shapes without tracing
  • recognise and explain the importance of closing the shape when drawing a shape (Communicating, Reasoning) CCT

Background Information

Experiences with shapes, even in Early Stage 1, should not be limited. It is important that students experience shapes that are represented in a variety of ways, eg 'tall skinny' triangles, 'short fat' triangles, right-angled triangles presented in different orientations and of different sizes, and shapes that are represented using a variety of materials, eg paint, images on the computer, string. Manipulation of a variety of real objects and shapes is crucial to the development of appropriate levels of language and representation.

In Early Stage 1, it is important that teachers present students with both regular and irregular shapes (regular shapes have all sides and all angles equal). However, students are not expected to use the terms 'regular' and 'irregular' themselves.

Students should be given time to explore materials in order to represent shapes by tearing, painting, drawing, writing, or cutting and pasting.


Students should be able to communicate using the following language: shape, circle, triangle, square, rectangle, features, side, straight line, curved line, open line, closed shape.

The term 'shape' refers to a two-dimensional figure. The term 'object' refers to a three-dimensional figure.

National Numeracy Learning Progression links to this Mathematics outcome

When working towards the outcome MAe‑15MG the sub-elements (and levels) of Understanding geometric properties (UGP1-UGP2) describe observable behaviours that can aid teachers in making evidence-based decisions about student development and future learning.

The progression sub-elements and indicators can be viewed by accessing the National Numeracy Learning Progression.