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2D shapes: their names and properties

2D shapes are all around us, from maths books to architecture! In this blog, we’ll take a look at the names and properties of some of the most common 2D shapes.

We’ll start with the basic shapes and move on to more complex ones. By understanding the properties of these shapes, you can better understand how they’re used in mathematics and other fields. Let’s get started!


In this blog, we’ll cover:

What are 2D shapes?

When do children learn about 2D shapes?

2D shape names: the different types of 2D shapes

The difference between regular and irregular 2D shapes

Properties of 2D shapes

Symmetry and 2D shapes


What are 2D shapes?

2D shapes are figures that have two dimensions: length and width. The fact they have two dimensions means that they can be measured.

They’re also referred to as plane figures or polygons.

Some of the most common 2D shapes include squares, rectangles, circles, triangles, and hexagons. These shapes can be found in many different places, including nature, art, and architecture.

What does 2D stand for?

The ‘2D’ in 2D shapes stands for ‘two-dimensional’. Unlike three-dimensional shapes, 2D shapes can only be measured in terms of their length and width.

Many people think that 2D shapes are flat, but this isn’t always the case. Some 2D shapes, such as circles and spheres, have a curved surface.

Where are 2D shapes used?

2D shapes help us to better understand the world around us. 2D shapes are found in many different places and can be used for a variety of reasons, some of the most common being:

  • To create 2D drawings
  • To represent real-world objects
  • To help with mathematical problems
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When do children learn about 2D shapes?

Children first start to learn about 2D shapes in Year 1 and continue to build their understanding of them throughout primary school.

They first learn the names of the different shapes and how to identify them, and later learn how to measure 2D shapes using length and width.

By Year 6, children will be able to draw their own 2D shapes and tell the difference between regular and irregular shapes by looking at their properties.

These are all important skills that can help them with mathematical problems later on in life.


Why are 2D shapes important?

2D shapes play a big role in school learning, and not just in maths lessons!

In maths classes, 2D shapes are used to help solve problems. In art class, 2D shapes are used to create 2D drawings and paintings. And in science class, 2D shapes are used to represent real-world objects.

2D shapes are also a very important part of our lives, and we use them every day without even realising it. So, learning about the different 2D shapes and their properties can help us to better understand the world around us.


2D shape names: the different types of 2D shapes

There are many different types of 2D shapes. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the most common shapes.

Squares

A square is a 2D shape that has four equal sides and four 90-degree angles.

Squares are often used to represent objects in the real world, such as buildings or cars.

Rectangles

A rectangle is a 2D shape that has four equal sides and two 90-degree angles.

Rectangles can be used to represent objects such as books and televisions.

They can also be found in lots of different places, including art and architecture!

Circles

A circle is a 2D shape that has one curved side and no angles.

Circles can be used to represent lots of things, such as the sun or moon.

Triangles

A triangle is a 2D shape that has three sides and three angles.

It’s often used to represent objects in the real world, such as mountains or pyramids.

Hexagons

A hexagon is a 2D shape that has six sides and six angles.

It’s often used to represent honeycombs or snowflakes. They can also be seen in art and nature.

Kites

A kite is a 2D shape that has two curved sides and four angles.

It’s often used to represent objects in the real world, such as windmills or birds.

Rhombuses

A rhombus is a 2D shape that has four equal sides and two pairs of parallel sides.

It’s often used to represent objects such as diamonds or mirrors.

Trapeziums

A trapezium is a 2D shape that has two parallel sides and two non-parallel sides.

It’s used to represent objects such as tables and chairs.

Parallelograms

A parallelogram is a 2D shape that has two pairs of parallel sides.

It’s often used to represent objects in the real world, such as doors or windows.

Nonagons

A nonagon is a 2D shape that has nine sides and nine angles.

It’s often used to represent objects in real life, such as flowers and trees.

Decagons

A decagon is a 2D shape that has ten sides and ten angles.

It’s often used to represent objects in the real world, such as clocks or wheels.

Ready to put your learning into practice? Have a go at naming and identifying 2D shapes in this interactive exercise!


The difference between regular and irregular 2D shapes

One way to classify 2D shapes is by whether they’re regular or irregular.

  • Regular 2D shapes have sides and angles that are all equal in size
  • Irregular 2D shapes have sides and angles that aren’t all equal in size

You can often tell a regular 2D shape from an irregular 2D shape just by looking at it.

People sometimes think that all irregular shapes are 2D polygons (a shape where all of the sides are equal in length). However, this isn’t always the case. For example, a circle is an irregular 2D shape, but it isn’t a polygon.


Properties of 2D shapes

In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the most important properties that all 2D shapes share.

Shape

One property of 2D shapes is their shape. As we’ve seen, there are many different types of 2D shapes. Each type of 2D shape has its own unique set of properties.

Area

Another important property of 2D shapes is their area. The area of a 2D shape is the amount of space it occupies. It can be measured in square units, such as inches or centimetres.

Perimeter

The perimeter of a 2D shape is the distance around its edge. It can be measured in linear units, such as inches or centimetres.

Angles

One property of 2D shapes that are often overlooked is their angles.

Angles are measured in degrees, and they can be used to determine the shape of a 2D object.


Symmetry and 2D shapes

In Year 2, children are introduced to symmetry.

Symmetry is another property of 2D shapes that are often used in art and design. Symmetry occurs when a 2D shape can be divided into two equal halves. The halves are then mirrored images of each other.

There are many different types of symmetry, but the most common type is bilateral symmetry. Bilateral symmetry occurs when a 2D shape can be divided into two equal halves that are mirror images of each other.

Another type of symmetry is rotational symmetry. Rotational symmetry occurs when a 2D shape can be rotated around a centre point and still look the same.

Finally, there is reflective symmetry. Reflective symmetry occurs when a 2D shape can be reflected over a line and still look the same.

Ready to put your learning into practice? Have a go at exploring 2D shapes using lines of symmetry in this interactive exercise!


Conclusion

That’s all there is to know about 2D shapes! We hope you found this guide helpful. Now that you understand the different types of shapes and their properties, it’ll be much easier for you to identify them in the world around you.

Remember, practice makes perfect, so keep looking for shapes and testing your knowledge.

Or, for even more ways to enhance your child’s learning, download the free DoodleMaths app to unlock thousands of personalised exercises, educational games and virtual rewards!

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