# oblong vs rectangle

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by LauraJeanD, Nov 27, 2011.

1. ### LauraJeanDNew commenter

Do we teach 4 year old children that squares and oblongs are both rectangles? I know that a square is a rectangle with 4 sides equal in length and an oblong is one where length is greater than its width (i.e. not a square).

I was just wondering whether this is a concept that might be a little hard for 4-year-olds to grasp seeing as many come up from preschool thinking that squares and rectangles are two separate things. I think these are the sorts of things that need to be correct from the earliest of ages in order for them to understand it securely but I thought I'd check what the rest of you do first

2. ### MszEstablished commenter

yes we teach it and they don't seem to have a problem accepting it

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As its one of my 'pet' annoyancies, I always taught it too. I dont really see it as any different from saying a daffodil is a flower and a tulip is also a flower. A square is a rectangle, and an oblong is also a rectangle. The greatest problem I see is when a child calls a square a rectangle and are told it's wrong.

Little children like the word oblong and they can see the difference between an oblong and a`square. Personally, I'd teach oblongs and squares first and only introduce rectangles when we were doing D shape properties later on. It amuses me that the word oblong fell from grace at some point between when I left school and trained as a teacher. Any theories?

Well, I've just learnt something significant. Oblong [from the Latin, oblongus] doesn't necessarily have to do with rectangles. Circles can be similarly stretched, into ovals, I suppose. All the same, I still love the word and will continue to favour it above rectangle with the littlies.
ducks

I would rather not use the word rectangle at all (I teach in Reception), but have to as many children come up from our feeder settings using the term as a synonym for oblong.
I tell them that a rectangle is a shape with 4 straight sides and 4 corners that are "this shape" (said while pointing to the corners on a square or oblong). I then draw different shapes such as parallelograms and trapeziums on the whiteboard. I don't name them, but just explain that they aren't rectangles because - although they have 4 straight sides - the corners are a different shape.
I then explain that a square is a special kind of rectangle which has 4 sides the same length, and that an oblong is a kind of rectangle that only has the opposite sides the same length. I seem to remember a more knowledgeable poster over on Primary saying that "oblong" isn't a word that mathematicians would use, but I find it useful.

7. ### Leapyearbaby64New commenter

Just to contradict everyone else ... I don't use the word oblong at all. Like inky said it is a descriptive word rather than a noun. Squares are subsets of rectangles, which are subsets of parallelograms which are all quadrilaterals which are all polygons. We don't have different words for other subsets of shapes, so why do we need to call a rectangle an oblong?
Of course as well as being a special rectangle, a square is also a special rhombus ...

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8. ### julia pearl

Rectangle always for me.

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9. ### greenmacca70

So- am I understanding this right- there is no word for the shape that I currently call a rectangle?

10. ### LauraJeanDNew commenter

Hahaha that's the conclusion I came to! We should name it!

11. ### Leapyearbaby64New commenter

Yes ... it's a rectangle.

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12. ### wmcdonoughNew commenter

A rectangle is not a rectangle until it is measured and it's properties are measured. Up until this point it is described as an oblong.

Like an electron exists everywhere at the same time until it's measured (proberbility field/cloud)!