More 3D Shapes: Learning about Pyramids and Spheres

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Students will be able to name and identify characteristics of cylinders and cones.

Big Idea

Students will have fun learning about 3-D shapes when they explore rectangular prisms and cubes in this interactive lesson.


5 minutes

To begin this lesson, I use the song/video 3D Shapes I Know.  Listen and view below, or follow this link to video on YouTube.  I used this song in the previous lesson on 3D shapes so the student will make a quick connection.

After we view the video, I show the students a pyramid and as phere manipulative.  I say, Do you know what these are called?  The students quickly identify a pyramid.   They do not know the name of the sphere.  I say to the students, "This shape is a sphere." I have the students say sphere several times (they call it a spear) to get the correct pronunciation.

I continue, Now when we were watching the video, it gave some examples of things that were spheres and things that were pyramids.  What are some things in our world that are spheres?    The students come up with lots of examples.  We then talk about things that are pyramids (a little tougher!).

When the students are done sharing, we 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 Sphere and Pyramid 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 a pyramid and sphere.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend if a shape is a pyramid or a sphere and why.

We progress then progress through the rest of the slides. 

Slide 2: This is a pyramid.  It has triangles on its sides and it has an apex.  I show the students a pyramid manipulative and point out the triangles and the apex. 

Slide 3:  These are pyramid shaped.    We talk about the things that are shaped like a pyramid.

Slide 4:  This is a sphere.  It does not have any flat faces.  I show the students the sphere manipulative. 

Slide 5: These are some things that are shaped like a sphere.  We name them together.  

Slide 6: Let's sort!.  I invite students to come up and move the items into the correct spots on the chart.  We talk about what each item is.  I say it as a sentence for the students, "The candle is a pyramid",  to help expand the vocabulary and understanding of syntax of my English Language Learners. 

Slide 7:   It is now Turn and Talk time.  This is a chance for my students to practice using their academic language.  Each student has an assigned Turn and Talk partner.   I have them hold hands with their partner and raise their hands in the air so I can make sure that everyone has a partner.  After everyone has a partner, I say to them.  What shape are these?  How do you know?  The students talk and then hands go into the air as they know the answer.   After  everyone has had a chance to talk, I ask a student to share their group's answer with the class.  The student tells the class that the chocolates are pyramids.  I ask the student to explain why.  The student tells the class that there are triangles and an apex.  I repeat the student's answer.  The chocolates are pyramids because there are triangles and an apex.

The students take their seats at their tables to begin guided practice.   

Guided Practice

10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, you will need the 3D Shape Sorting Mats, included as a PDF with this lesson.  I print out one set per table group.  For this lesson, you will need the mats that say "cylinder" and "cone".  You will also need some different pyramids and spheres for the students to sort.  I have a collection of shapes.  I am a bit short on pyramids, but I have found a few things to use such as small pyramid shaped candles.  You could also use pyramid shaped math manipulatives or make pyramid nets out of paper to use.  

I distribute the mats to the students and I tell them.  We are going to sort some objects by shape.  You will need to decide if an object is a pyramid or a sphere.  We will go around the table.  Pick up an item and tell what shape it is and why you know it is that shape.  You might say, it has triangle faces, and an apex or it doesn't have any flat faces.  For example, I picked the golf ball.  I say, The golf ball is a sphere.  I know it is a sphere because it doesn't have any flat faces.  I put the ball on the mat that says sphere and then the next person goes.

I place the items on the table and the students begin to sort the objects.  I circulate around the room and observe their work.  I remind the students to say their ideas as a complete sentence to benefit my English Language Learners (and actually all my students).  When each table is done, I check their work.  When the entire class has finished, I collect the items and we prepare for independent practice. 

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

For independent practice, you will need the Pyramid and Sphere Activity included as a PDF with this lesson.  Make one copy per student.

I distribute the activity sheet to the students and tell them that we are going to be doing some more sorting of objects by shapes.  I have the students get out a green crayon and color the pyramid at the top of their page green.  I then have them color the sphere orange.  I tell the students, You are going to look at each object on the page.  You will decide if it is a pyramid or a sphere.  If it is a pyramid, you will color it green.  If it is a sphere, you will color it orange.  If it is not a sphere or pyramid, do not color it in.

The students begin working (see video) and I circulate around the room to check their progress.    I remind them that we are only coloring pyramids and spheres.  As the students finish their work, I check it and then they place it in their mailbox.