Exploring Cylinders and Cones

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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. 

After we view the video, I show the students a sphere and cone manipulative.  I say, Do you know what these are called?  The students know the name of a cone.  They do not know the name of the cylinder.  I say to the students, This shape is called a cylinder.  I want you to say that with me. 

I continue, Now when we were watching the video, it gave some examples of things that are the same shape as these two shapes.  Let's come up with examples of cones.  The students share examples.  We then discussed examples of cylinders.

When the students were 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 Cylinder and Cone 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 cylinder and a cone and describe characteristics of each.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend if a shape is a cylinder or a cone and why.

 We progress then progress through the rest of the slides. 

Slide 2: This is a cylinder.  It has two faces that are circles.  I show the students the cylinder and point out the circles on the ends.  I explain to the students that the center of the cylinder is a rectangle that is wrapped around it.  I take a piece of paper and demonstrate on the manipulative. 

Slide 3:  There are many things that are cylinder shaped.  We name the things that are shaped like cylinders together. 

Slide 4:  This is a cone.   It has one round face.  The cone has a point.  It is called an apex.  

Slide 5: These are some things that are cone shaped.  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 soup can is a cylinder" to help expand the vocabulary and understanding of syntax. 

Slide 7:   It is time for my students to practice using their academic language with Turn and Talk.  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 candles?  How do you know?  The students talk and then hands go into the air as they know the answer.   After it is obvious that everyone has had a chance to talk, I ask a student to share their answer with the class.  The student tells the class that the candles are cylinders..  I ask the student to explain why.  The student tells the class that there are two circles on the ends.  I repeat the student's answer.  The candles are cylinders because there is a circle on each end.  

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 cylinders and cones for the students to sort.  I have collected a variety of objects to use for this lesson including canned foods, party hats, tea light candles, game pieces that are cone-shaped, ice cream cones etc. I divide the items between my four tables of students so each group has some items to sort.

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 cylinder or a cone.  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 two faces that are circles, or it has one circle face and an apex.  For example, I picked the can of olives.  I say, The can is a cylinder.  I know it is a cylinder because it has two faces that are circles.  I put the can on the mat that says cylinder 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 Cylinder and Cone 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 red crayon and color the cylinder at the top of their page red.  I then have them color the cone blue.  I tell the students, You are going to look at each object on the page.  You will decide if it is a cylinder or a cone.  If it is a cylinder, you will color it red.  If it is a cone, you will color it blue.  If it is not a cylinder or a cone, do not color it in.

The students begin working (see video) and I circulate around the room to check their progress.  Some students are frustrated because they want to color all of the items in.  I remind them that we are only coloring cylinders and cones.  As the students finish their work, I check it and then they place it in their mailbox.