Introducing 3-D Shapes

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Students will be able to name and describe the attributes of three-dimensional shapes.

Big Idea

Students recognize 3D shapes around them, learning their names and attributes by exploring real objects.

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.  Procedures and rituals develop student's social and academic skills, so today as always students join the circle as I call their name and 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 SMARTBoard 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 triangles into a larger shape.  If the students struggle, I suggest trying to make a triangle.  I give assistance as needed.

I tell students, "Today we are going to continue learning about shapes.  We are going learn about three-dimensional shapes."

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

As students create a circle, I place several objects in the middle with the reminder that these are "math tools", not toys (MP5).  Selecting one of the wooden three-dimensional shapes I've brought to the circle, I hold up the cylinder and say, "This is a cylinder.  Say cylinder.  It has two circle faces (as I say this I am demonstrating and showing what I'm saying) and is round."  I call on several students to come to the middle of the circle and choose objects that are cylinders.  I repeat this with the cube, sphere and cone.  

I tell students that we will continuing to practice using a Three-Dimensional Shapes worksheet.  I show students the paper and say, "We will be working on this paper together.  You need to get out a pencil and put your name on your paper.  When your name is on your paper hold your pencil in the air, that will let me know that you are ready to start."  I like to have students hold up their pencils or put their hands on their heads when they are finished with a task.  It makes it easy for me to see who is ready and also keeps the students from writing all over their papers while they wait for other students to finish.  

I hand each student a paper for them to take back to their seats and while the students are writing their names, I turn on the projector and document camera and display the worksheet on the SMARTBoard.  When all students have their pencils up, I say, "At the top of the paper there is a picture of each of the three-dimensional shapes.  Touch the first shape.  This shape is called a cube.  Touch the next shape.  This shape is called a sphere.  Touch the next shape.  This shape is called a cylinder.  Touch the last shape.   This shape is called a cone.  The directions on this paper say, ' Name the three-dimensional shape.  Circle the matching object.'  Put your pencil point on the shape next to number one.  What shape is this?"  (A cylinder.)  "Which object is a cylinder?"  (The soda can.)  "Circle the soda can.  Put your pencil point on the shape next to number two.  What shape is this?"  (A cone.)  "Which object is a cone?"  (The traffic cone.)  "Circle the traffic cone."  I continue this with numbers 3 and 4.  When the students are finished.  I have the students put this paper in their mailbox and put their head down.  When the a whole table of students is seated with their heads down, I call them up to get their center.


20 minutes

The students all get their centers at the same time since we complete the paper together.  This week's centers are:

Play dough Shapes (
Solid Shape Sort ( and Sorting Math)
Dramatic Play Shape Sort (
Roll and Cover Reindeer (
SMART Board Shapes Shoot (

Before I pull groups for additional assistance, I circulate to make sure students are engaged in their centers.  I pull the first group for 10 minutes and the other two groups for 5 minutes each.  The first group is comprised of the students who were having trouble identifying numbers and matching the numbers to objects.  Even though we are working on shapes, I start with identifying and matching numbers to objects for this group since they need to master this skill.  I have a basic idea of who I want in each group based on recent assessments, but I also take into account how the students did in the whole group lesson.  I pull the students back to my small group table to do a reteach activity using flash cards and manipulatives (for this lesson I used cookie counters).  I show the flash cards and have students practice identifying the numbers.  I then give each student a pile of counters (1-10) and have them pick the number card that matches their group.  I then put the wooden 3-dimensional shapes out on the table.  I hold up the cube and say "cube."  I pass the cube around the table and have each student say cube as they hold it.  I repeat this with each shape.  I put out several of the real objects on the table.  I say a shape and have each student pick an object that is that shape. 

The next two groups of students do just the activity with 3 dimensional shapes.  I do this much quicker for these groups.  Prior to clean up, I check in with each table to see how the centers are going.  I turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean.  Students clean up and return to their seats.


5 minutes

I close the lesson by having four students come up and hold one of the 3-dimensional shapes.  I have each student come forward and hold up their shape while the rest of the class shouts the name of the shape.  I mention positive things that I noticed during centers.  I also include something that needs to be better next time.  I review what we did during our whole group lesson.  "Today we learned about three-dimensional shapes.  We learned about the cone, cube, cylinder and sphere. Tomorrow, we are going to learn more about three-dimensional shapes!"