There's Nothing to Sphere!

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SWBAT identify and describe a circle by it's attributes.

Big Idea

Kindergarteners love to identify shapes in their environment. In order effectively do that, they must be able to recognize different shapes by their specific attributes. In this lesson kindergartners learn about the attributes of a sphere.

Daily Calendar & Counting Review

20 minutes

Each day we begin our math block with an interactive online calendar followed by counting songs and videos.

Calendar Time:

We do calendar on Starfall every afternoon.  This website has free reading and math resources for primary teachers. It also has a  “more” option that requires paying a yearly fee. The calendar use is free. A detailed description of Daily Calendar math is included in the resources.

Counting with online sources: Today we did counting practice to reinforce the counting skills. We watched two to three number recognition 0-10 videos (one to two minutes each) because some of my students students were still struggling with identifying numbers correctly in random order. We watched "Shawn the Train" and counted objects with him to refresh our memories on how to count objects to ten and to reinforce one to one counting. Since we have started the second quarter of the school year, we added to today's counting practice: counting to 20 forward and back, counting by tens to 100 and counting to 100 by ones to get a jump on our end of the year goals.

Direct Instruction

20 minutes

I begin the lesson by reviewing our shapes chart. We review the names and attributes of all the shapes already listed. Then I introduce the first of our 3D shapes, the sphere.

Me (holding up a plastic sphere): Does anyone know what we call this shape?

Students: Several kids yell out, "sphere!" (a strong example of why we sing along to the 3D shapes video during calendar time even though the kids hadn't been formally introduced to them yet.)

Me: Awesome! Using your eyes (linking to the five senses in science), I want you to think about what a sphere looks like. I give approximately 20 seconds wait time. "If I call on you, I would like you to tell me what notice about this sphere in a complete sentence using the words, 'The sphere is...'" (This supports English language development.)

Students (names randomly picked one at a time from Popsicle sticks in a jar).

Student 1: The sphere is like a ball.

Me: How is it like a ball? (probing questions)

Student 1: It is round and I bet it can roll (students actual words).

Me: Well, let's try it. I roll the sphere on the ledge of my white board. (You could do this on a student desk or table) Does a sphere roll?

All students: Yeah! 

Me: I draw another name stick. "What else can you tell me about this shape?"

Student 2: It's a circle.

Me: I get the circle attribute block and hold it up next to the sphere. "Let's look at the circle and the sphere together. (I address the student who called it a circle) Are they the same or different? (I use hand signals demonstrate same and different to support cognitive understanding of the words and to support my English language learners).

Student 2: They're different.

Me: What do you see that's different about them?

Student 2: That one doesn't roll (pointing to the circle).

Me: So what can you tell us about this shape (holding up the sphere)?

Student 2: The sphere can roll and the circle can't.

Me: That's a good observation. I pull another stick.

Note: Persevering through the thought process (describing and comparing a circle to a sphere) prevents me and the other students from simply saying "you're wrong", and is a valuable learning moment for that student and others who had the misconception that spheres and circle are the same.

Student 3: The sphere is 3 dimensional (learned from the 3D sing along during calendar time).

Once the kids provide enough information on the sphere, we add it to our shapes poster.

Management Tip: To call on students, I pull names on popsicle sticks that are housed in a plastic jar. This prevents me from sub-consciously choosing the same students repeatedly or calling on too many girls versus boys and vice versa.

Making Spheres

15 minutes

I provide each student with a sandwich bag of no-cook playdough (see recipe video) and a paper plate. Each is a different color in order to keep kids from mixing up supplies (I had to make 5 different colors, but it was fun to do with my son).

The students make spheres of all different sizes. This allows them to "feel" the sphere and experience it in more ways than just looking at it from a distance, or seeing on paper.

After they make the spheres, we take a gallery walk around the room to see everyone's spheres.


10 minutes

We gather on the floor and scan the room to look for items that are spheres. We make a sphere poster and list the items under the picture of the sphere. They point out things like a ball, globe, and a wooden sphere manipulative.

Identifying spheres in the environment allows kids to visualize and recognize the shapes better. It helps reinforce shape recognition and relate to their environment better.

Exit Ticket

5 minutes

I give the kids a Hunting for Spheres exit ticket and tell them they have five minutes to find and color in as many spheres in the picture as they can. They enjoy the challenge and have fun looking for the spheres.

Please note that the work sheet is in French and the directions are to find the pictures listed at the top, but I do not use it as prescribed. I only have the kids hunt and color the spheres for five minutes and then I collect them.

For this particular exit ticket, I'm just looking to see if they can identify at least a few spheres in the picture. It's an informal assessment and since it's the first time we've discussed spheres, I'm okay with the kids helping each other find the items that are shaped like spheres.