2D & 3D Shapes

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SWBAT recognize similar attributes between 2D and 3D shapes.

Big Idea

Real world examples help make the attributes of these shapes less abstract.


5 minutes

Yesterday we talked a lot about shapes, and the categories and groups we can put them together in. One thing that I noticed was when we were looking for things around our classroom we found a lot of shapes that were 3D, but they had similar attributes to their 2D brothers and sisters. Who can remember an example of one that we discussed?

A few examples that students discussed are a circle and our globe (sphere), a square tile and a box (cube). Again, the importance of the real world connection cannot be overlooked. For students who are trying to take in and process more complex concepts, spending time making the math "real" to them helps them to make sense of it. We also watch the following video so that students have a rhyming song to help them remember the proper names of the shapes. 

Guided Example

5 minutes

I have a picture of a coke can here. What type of 3D shape is this? What is it called? What do we know about its attributes, or features? What 2D shape might be similar to him in a flat world? Turn and talk to your partner about these questions. We do a few more examples like this (globe, box, baseball, pyramid etc) to discuss.

Yesterday we spent time looking at 2D and 3D shapes in our classroom, but today I want to provide students with an opportunity to think about 3D shapes that are common, but that we might not have in the room at this time. Again, I am stressing the real world relevance of understanding math in our world. 


35 minutes

Today you are going to match up the real world examples of 3D shapes, their attributes and their names. It’s kind of like the memory game we used to play when we were younger. You will need to work at your table to find all of the matches and record what you find. 

This activity will be done at their table groups so that students will have opportunities for discussion. Many of these items students are very familiar with, but it is important that they recognize the names for describing them and their attributes. This activity will allow them to see visual examples of the shapes, read descriptions and think about and discuss attributes.


5 minutes

What did you guys find today? What did you notice? What gave your group a challenge today? Why are attributes so hard to recognize and keep track of?  

We have this closing discussion to really emphasize how real world examples might be easier to recognize and can make shapes seem more 'real'. Students grasp the concept of geometry in my classroom much more quickly when they are gives a variety of ways to think about it- including visual, words and real world connections.