2-D & 3-D Shapes Centers

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Students will be able to independently practice identifying and matching 2D and 3D shapes and well as review the numbers 0 to 10.

Big Idea

In order to pull small groups during math instruction, the rest of the students need engaging activities that they can complete independently. These centers allow students to practice identifying and matching shapes and review the numbers 0 to 10.

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start the lesson with a problem of the day to help students review skills and concepts from prior lessons and develop their ability to problem solve.  I call the students up to the carpet. The students find their spots while saying this chant with me.

Criss cross, applesauce, hands in your lap, eyes on the teacher, you've got to show me that.

I project the Problem of the Day on the SMART Board and say to students, "This is our Problem of the Day for today.  This says 'Combine these shapes to create a larger shape.  What shape did you create?'   Before starting this Problem of the Day look closely at the smaller shapes and think about what larger shape you can make.I call up a student to move the smaller squares into a larger shape.  If the students struggle, I suggest trying to make a square.  I give assistance as needed.


I tell students, "Today we will be learning how to do new math centers.  Most of our centers  this week will be about shapes and one is for practicing numbers.  You will learn how to do all of the centers today and you will get a chance to work with your group on one of them."

Introducing Centers

25 minutes

I use math centers in my classroom as a way to reinforce the skills that are being taught.  The math centers give students a chance to work independently or with their peers to complete a task.  The students are not just learning and practicing shapes, they are also working on social skills including taking turns, sharing, and working cooperatively.  Having students working in centers also allows me time to pull small groups of student to my table to work on skills specific to their needs.

I ask students, "What have we been doing when we finish a math paper each day?"  Answers could include: Put it in the basket, do our center, etc.  "We are going to learn about the centers that we will be working on this week.  Some of our centers will be helping us learn about shapes and others will give us a chance to review the numbers 0 to 10."

I have the students move into a circle.  I remind students to sit on the hard floor so that there is space for everyone.  I bring up all of the center trays.  I explain and model how to complete each center.  This week's centers are:

Play dough Shapes (Teacherspayteachers.com)
Solid Shape Sort (Teacherspayteachers.com and Sorting Math)
Dramatic Play Shape Sort (Teacherspayteachers.com)
Roll and Cover Reindeer (Makinglearningfun.com)
SMART Board Shapes Shoot (Sheppardsoftware.com)

Each center is explained in the video located in the next section.

Explanation of Centers

The following centers are kept in a stack of plastic drawers in my classroom.  Each drawer has a number on it which corresponds to the numbers on the student tables.  The students take the center out of their numbered drawer, compete the center and return it to that same drawer when it is time to clean up.

Click on each center below to see a video explanation.

Play dough Shapes
Solid Shape Sort (I do not have a video showing this center.  I use the images from Teachers Pay Teachers and have the students sort them by shape.)
Dramatic Play Center Shape Sort
Roll and Cover Reindeer
SMART Board Shapes Shoot


20 minutes

Once I have introduced all of the centers, I have the students go back to their seats.  I remind students of our center rules.  Students need to work quietly and stay at their seats.  Materials need to remain on the table and be cleaned up quickly and quietly when the clean up song comes on.  I call up one student from each table to come back and get their center.  I circulate through the room to make sure that all of the centers are being done correctly.  We have been doing centers for a while now, so I do pull a group today.  I wait until all of the students are started and ensure that there are not any questions.  I pull 3 groups today.  The first group I pull for 10 minutes and the other two groups I pull for about 5 minutes each.  For the first group, I start with a review of numbers 0 to 10 and then we work on identifying and matching shapes.   I show a number card and have the students count out that number of erasers.  We then do a very quick practice with flashcards for the number 0 to 10.  I then show pictures of the two-dimensional shapes for the students to name.  I put out several shapes on the table and have the students sort them.  For the second two groups, we just do the flash cards and shape practice.  Prior to the last group, I count down from 5 and say "Freeze."  When I say this, all students stop what they are doing, put their hands on their heads and look at me.  This is a procedure that we use throughout the day.  I say to students, "You have about five minutes left.  Remember when the clean up song comes on, you need to quietly put all of your materials back in your container and return it to the math center drawer.  It needs to be in the drawer that matches your table number.  I let the students work for five more minutes and then turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean.  Students clean up and return to their seats.