I Scream, You Scream - It's a Cone!

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SWBAT identify and describe a cone 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 cone.

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 began the lesson by reviewing our shapes chart. We reviewed the names and attributes of all the shapes already listed. Then I introduced the next 3D shape, the cylinder.

Note: The goal of this lesson is to get students using geometric vocabulary, identifying the given shape and describing the shapes attributes. The use of complete sentences and appropriate vocabulary is stressed.

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

Students: Several kids yelled out, "Cone!" (This is 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 cone 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 cone in a complete sentence using the words, 'The cone has...'" (This supports English language development.) (I deliberately use the word cone repeatedly to embed the name and shape recognition into their minds)

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

Student 1: The cone has a circle.

Me: Can you explain how it has a circle? (probing questions)

Student 1: It has a circle on the bottom (based on orientation). (students actual words).

Me: Good observation. The "circle" on the cone is called a face.

A random student yells out: Hey that's just like a cube and squares! (connection to prior learning)

Me: That's right!

Making the poster: Everyone say, "A cone has one circle face." Students repeat. I draw a cone on our chart paper and write 1 circle face under it.

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

Student 2: It can roll.

Me: Can you say that again, but start your sentence with, "The cone can..." (This supports English language development)

Student 2: The cone can roll.

Me: How do we know it can roll? (choose another stick)

Student 3: The cone can roll because it has a round body with a point.

Me: What do we call the point?

Student 3: Vertex

Me: Can you put that in a complete sentence?

Student 3: It's called a vertex.

Me: Can you roll this cone on the table for us? (Student rolls it. I pick another stick to verbalize what happened).

Student 4: It rolls in a circle. We write "can roll" on our poster

Me: Is there anything else you can say about this cone? (I don't pick a stick this time because the most obvious attributes have already been stated. I pick a raised hand)

Student 4: The cone can slide.

Me: Another good observation! How did you know that?

Student 4: It's flat on the bottom.

Once the kids have provided enough information on the cone, we add it to our shapes poster.

Note: It is important that the kids hear and use the geometric vocabulary repeatedly throughout the lesson. By the end of this experience, most of the students in the class should be able to identify and name a cone and give at least one attribute of the shape using appropriate mathematical language.

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.


15 minutes

We sing to Harry Kindergarten's 3D Shapes I know video:

I bring a box of realia from home that includes a party hat, funnel, traffic cone, Christmas tree, shells, wizard hat, toy tee pee, and the tip of a pencil. I mix a variety of 3D shape objects in with the cone shaped objects. The kids are asked to identify the cone shaped objects with a thumb up or a thumb down.

Once the students have identified which objects are cones, we have some real fun! We have ice cream cones! I buy the multi-pack of Drumstick ice cream cones at Costco. My students really identify with the cone shape after this activity. It really brings it to life for them.


10 minutes
I ask the kids to draw their favorite cone-shaped object. All of them usually draw a picture of the ice cream cone. Occasionally one will draw the wizard hat. The students share their cone-shaped drawing with their talking partner on the floor.
If time permits, I have the kids cut and paste a Cone Pattern model.