String Shapes

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive

In this activity, learners work together to make polygons (many-sided shapes) with string. Learners sit on the floor and hold onto a piece of string slid between their thumbs and index fingers. Learners explore how many different kinds of triangles and other shapes they can make by changing their hand positions. Use this activity to help learners explore polygons including convex and concave polygons and vertices.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 8

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • String, about 2.5 meters (8 feet) long, tied at the ends to form a loop
  • Masking tape
  • Floor space
  • Three people (more can join later)


  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Polygons
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Exploratorium, 2010

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation