Introduction to Shapes 

Shapes in math is studied as a part of Geometry. Shapes are all around us. Here is a short video lesson on how shapes are taught the Cuemath way.

Shapes around us

Have you noticed the shape of a pizza? It is round in shape.

Pizza is round in shape

If we cut out a slice from the pizza, the slice is triangular in shape.

A slice of pizza in triangular in shape

The handkerchief you carry is square in shape.

a square shaped handkerchief

What are Shapes?

Shapes can be defined as the boundary or outline of an object. It is the surface we see. It does not depend on the size or colour. There are many types of shapes.

Everything we see has a shape. Even Earth has a shape. Have you seen the model of the Earth called the Globe? What is the shape of this object?

A globe model showing the Earth is sphere in shape

It looks like a sphere.

Now, look at this pencil box.

A pencil box in cuboid shape

It looks like a cuboid.

Different Types of Shapes

Shapes in math can be defined in many ways based on their properties.

Shapes define the boundary of an object.

Shapes can be of the following types:

  1. open or closed 
  2. two dimensional \((2\text{D})\) or three dimensional \((3\text{D})\)
  3. curved or straight

Closed shapes can be traced without any break. It starts and ends in the same place.

Open Shapes are not continuous. Let's look at these examples below:

  • Closed Shapes

Closed shapes

  • Open Shapes

open shapes

We learn about these open and closed shapes in Maths- Shapes Grade 3.

A shape can also be two dimensional (\(2\text{D}\)) or three dimensional (\(3\text{D}\)).

A square is a \(2\text{D}\) shape whereas a cube is a \(3\text{D}\) shape.

2D Vs 3D shapes in maths

\(3\text{D}\) shapes have length, width and height. You can learn more about it here.

\(2\text{D}\) shapes, as the name suggests, have only two of these measurements.

The common \(2\text{D}\) and \(3\text{D}\) shapes are listed here in Table - 1 and Table - 2.

We learn about these \(2\text{D}\) and \(3\text{D}\) shapes in Maths- Shapes Grade 4.

List of Geometric Shapes

We know that shapes are made of straight lines or curved lines and they can be open or closed.

Lines are nothing but a collection of points. Many points put together form a line.

If it is straight, it is called a straight line and if it is curved, it is called a curved line.

Geometric shapes are closed shapes which are created by joining lines together.

Look at this shape below; It is made of four straight lines.

4 sided shape made of straight lines

Closed shapes made of four straight lines are called quadrilateral shapes.

Can you think of another quadrilateral shape?

Next, look at this shape here:

elliptical shape

It has no straight line, or corner, or side to it. It is a closed shape made of curved lines.

This shape is called an ellipse.

Can you think of another shape with no edges?

This is a three-dimensional shape. It has length, breadth and height.

A dice , 3D shape

This shape is called a cube. There are several other \(3\text{D}\) shapes.

Few are listed here in the table:

Table - 1

\(3\text{D}\) Shapes Images
Cuboid  A cuboid is a 3D shape
Cone Shape of a cone is a 3D shape 
Pyramid Shape of a pyramid is a 3D shape 
Cylinder A cylinder is a 3D shape

Look around you and identify more \(3\text{D}\) shapes.

Two-Dimensional Geometric Shapes

Have you seen a sheet of paper?

A sheet of paper is 2 dimensional in shape

It consists of length and breadth.

A two-dimensional shape does not have any depth.

The common \(2\text{D}\) shapes we see are listed below:

Table - 2

\(2\text{D}\) Shapes Number of sides Image
Triangle \(3\) A triangle is a 2D shape
Square \(4\) A square is a 2D shape
Rhombus \(4\) A rhombus is a 2D shape
Kite \(4\) A kite is a 2D shape
Rectangle \(4\)

Rectangle is a 2D shape

Trapezium \(4\) A trapezium  is a 2D shape
Pentagon \(5\) A pentagon is a 2D shape
Hexagon \(6\) A hexagon is a 2D shape
Heptagon \(7\) A septagon 7 sided polygon
Octagon \(8\) An octagon is a 2D shape
Decagon \(10\) A decagon is a 10 sided polygon
Dodecagon \(12\) A dodecagon twelve sided polygon
Hexadecagon \(16\) A hexadecagon is a 16 sided polygon
Circle \(0\) A circle is a 2D shape

Can you draw a few more \(2\text{D}\) shapes?

important notes to remember
Important Notes
  1. Quadrilateral shapes are four-sided closed figures made with straight lines.
  2. Polygons are closed shapes made of straight lines. They are named after the number of sides they have.Math Notes

Solved Examples

Example 1



Is the given figure a two-dimensional or a three-dimensional shape? How many sides does it have?

Shape of a football is spherical


The football looks like a sphere in shape and has \(0\) sides

The figure is a three-dimensional shape
Example 2



What \(3\text{D}\) shape does the ice-cream resemble?

Cone shaped ice cream


It looks like a cone
Example 3



How many sides are there in the given shape ? Is it a closed or open shape?

Number of sides in a star shape


Count the number of straight lines in the star. There are \(10\) straight lines.

We can trace the outline of this star without any break. Hence, it is a closed shape.

It is a closed shape with \(10\) sides
Example 4



What shape is the given figure? How many sides does it have? 

 Quadrilateral Example


The given shape has \(4\) sides. It is a Quadrilateral

 It is a Quadrilateral with \(4\) sides

Practice Questions

Challenge your math skills
Challenging Questions
  1.  Is the given shape a Quadrilateral? 
    A shape that is not a quadrilateral
  2.  What is the name of the closed shape which has 100 sides?

Maths Olympiad Sample Papers

IMO (International Maths Olympiad) is a competitive exam in Mathematics conducted annually for school students. It encourages children to develop their math solving skills from a competition perspective.

You can download the FREE grade-wise sample papers from below:

To know more about the Maths Olympiad you can click here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the types of shapes?

There are many different types of shapes. They are grouped together based on their properties.

A shape can be:

  • closed or open
  • two dimensional or three dimensional
  • regular or irregular

The properties of shapes define what type they are.

2. What are the 16 basic shapes?

The 16 basic shapes are : Triangle, Square, Rectangle, Kite, Rhombus, Trapezium, Pentagon, Hexagon, Nanogen, Decagon, Dodecagon, Hexadecogon, Star, Oval, Ellipse and Circle.

3. What are the 4 basic shapes?

There are many types of shapes but we come across 4 basic shapes very often.

The 4 basic shapes are: circle, square, triangle, and rectangle.

We will learn more about these in Shapes Grade 3 and Shapes Grade 4.

4. What are the 5 basic shapes?

The five basic shapes which we come across often are: circle, rectangle, square, triangle, and oval.

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