Super Sleuths: Identifying 3D Shapes In Our World

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Students will be able to identify 3D shapes in their world.

Big Idea

Students get to apply their knowledge of shapes to the world around them with this interactive lesson.


10 minutes

For this lesson, you will need a copy of Bart and Becky Clean the Toy Room, included as a PDF with this lesson.  I print the book on a colored printer and laminate the pages.  It can be bound with a comb binder, binding rings or staples.    An erasable pen will make the book interactive.

 I gather the students around my big chair and ask them if they like to clean.  It is fun to listen to their response.  Immediately, the students have a connection to the text.   This is so important when reading to students, especially English Language Learners.  They need something to serve as an anchor for new learning.  I tell the students, We are going to read a story about cleaning and the characters in it our kids you might remember from some of our other math lessons.  I hold up the book and the kids immediately shout out, Becky and Bart.  You’re right.  It looks like Becky and Bart have some new adventures for us.   Let’s read and find out what they are up to!


Page 1:  Mom said we have to clean the toy room.  I don’t like to clean.  I point out the look on Bart’s face.

Page 2:  Bart, it won’t be so bad if we work together.  We can sort everything by its shape.  So Becky and Bart are going to work as a team.  That makes everything easier.

Page 3:  What shape is the jack-in-the-box?  I call a student up to circle the shape.  I ask the student if he knows the name of the shape.  If the student doesn’t know the name, I call on someone to help him.  We all say a sentence with the shape word.  The jack-in-the-box is a cube.  This use of the academic vocabulary is critical for EL students.

Page 4-6:  Continue as above.

Page 7:  Well, everything is picked up.  Mom should be happy!

Page 8:  Wow!! This room looks great!  Let me check the closet.

Page 9:  Mom, don’t open that…

Page 10:  door!  (The students begin to giggle because from previous books, they know what is going to happen.)

Page 11:  Sorry Mom!  Get this room picked up…NOW!

The students are still laughing.  Several of them confess to hiding thing in the closet or under the bed when cleaning. 

 We now move over to the Smartboard for direct instruction.

Direct Instruction

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SmartBoard.  If you have a Smartboard, the file 3D shapes in Our World can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  There is also a PDF of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson.  

I gather my students in front of the Smartboard.  I have cards with each student's name printed on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the SmartBoard.

I open the first slide (SmartBoard Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques  I read these objectives aloud for my students.

Content Objective

I can identify 3D shapes in my world.

Language Objective

I can tell a friend what 3D shape an object is. 


Slide 2:  Everywhere I look, I see 3D shapes.  Can you help me decide what is the shape of different things I see?

Slide 3:  I found this basketball.  What shape is it?  Circle the correct answer.  What do we call that shape?  I invite a student to come up and circle the correct shape.  I ask the student for the name of the shape.  If the student can’t name the shape, I ask them to call on someone to help them.  I form a complete sentence for the class, The basketball is a sphere.  This is important for my EL learners to hear the vocabulary used in a sentence.

Slides 4-7:  Continue as above.

Slide 8:  It is our Turn and Talk Time.  We end our direct instruction each day with Turn and Talk.  This time allows all my students, especially those who are not native English speakers, to practice their English skills.  The students have a partner who they work with for Turn and Talk.  They hold hands with their partners and raise them above their head.  This allows me to tell if there is anyone who does not have a partner.  I say to them, I found these toys.  What shapes do you see?  There is lots of discussing and pointing.  When the discussion dies down, I call on several students to share what shapes they saw.  I call on a student who says “a sphere.  I remind the student to use a complete sentence.  She says, We saw a sphere.   I ask her partner to come up to the board and point to the sphere.  I continue to ask several students to share until we have covered all the shapes on the slide.

 We return to our seats for Guided Practice.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

For this activity you will need the Grab a Shape 3-D game included with this lesson.  I use one set of the game for each table group of 5-6 students.  I print the game with a colored printer and laminate the game for durability before cutting them apart.  I assemble the game cube with clear tape.

I tell the students, We are going to play a game called, Grab A Shape.  For this game, you need to spread the game cards over your table.  Then you roll the die and then say the name of the shape you rolled.  For example (roll die), I rolled a cylinder.  I look for something that is shaped like an cylinder.  I take that card and keep it.   I pass the die to the next person; they roll and then find a card that matches that shape.  Continue going around the circle.  If you roll the die and there are no cards left that matched the shape you rolled, you need to say pass.  Whoever has the most cards when all the cards are gone is the winner.

The students begin playing the game.  See Video.  I reinforce saying the name of the shape. We play a few rounds.  The students enjoy the game so much that they ask if they can play it during choice time.

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

For independent practice, you will need the 3D Shapes in My World Book included as a PDF with this lesson.  Print one copy for every two students and staple on the side.  If you cut the copy in the middle, you will have two books. 

I pass the books out to the students and have them write their name at the top.  I tell the students, "We are going to practice identifying real world shapes.  I want you to look at the object on the page. Then you will circle the correct 3D shape for the object.  When you are done, you will bring it up and read the book to me.  Then, you can go back and color the book."

The students begin working.  As they finish the book, I have them read it to me when they are done working.  They return to their seats and color the book while their friends are finishing their work.