The Face of a Shape
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- Unit Plan:
- Determine what they already know about space shapes
- Name each space shape
- Make observations and chart the different characteristics of each space shape
- Stamp to discover what plain shapes make up space shapes
- Chart paper and markers
- Three-dimensional shaped manipulatives or blocks
- Three-dimensional stamps (if these are not available you can use the manipulatives and wash them off)
- Shape Faces (PDF)
- Shape Chart (PDF)
- Colored paints
- One or two shape books:
- Icky Bug Shapes by Jerry Pallotta
- The Wing on a Flea by Ed Emberley
Set Up and Prepare
- Create a chart ahead of time. Write the names of the different space shapes across the top (cone, sphere, cube, rectangular prism, pyramid, and cylinder). Along the side of the chart put the comments: Number of corners, Number of edges, Number of faces, Shape(s) of faces, Does it roll, Does it slide). The chart should end up looking like a grid with boxes to fill in as a class. See the Shape Chart (PDF).
- Blow up the reproducible Shape Faces (PDF) to 11x17. This allows for bigger manipulatives or blocks to be used by their little hands.
Step 1: Gather the students on the carpet or in a group area. Begin to discuss what they already know about space shapes. Generate a conversation about what they remember from first grade about shapes in general.
Step 2: Read a story. I like to read Icky Bug Shapes by Jerry Pallotta, or The Wing on a Flea by Ed Emberley because they are both very basic shape books. A read-aloud provides a nice review and background into the new shapes they will be learning.
Step 3: Hold up one space shape at a time and give the students a chance to recall the name of the space shape. If they are stumped, fill in the name for them. Introduce cone, sphere, cube, rectangular prism, cylinder, and pyramid.
Step 4: Distribute the space shape manipulatives. If you have enough for everybody, that's terrific. If not, ask groups to share the shapes. Try to have multiple sets so that the students can hold the shapes and feel the sides. Review what each shape is called by calling out names and having the students hold up the appropriate shape.
Step 5: Begin to fill in the class chart. Go through each shape to fill in the chart. For example start with the cone. Decide as a class how many corners there are. Fill in the chart. Then move to how many edges there are and fill in the chart. See the Shape Chart (PDF) for an example. Continue until all the boxes are filled in.
Step 6: Have a quick review of the chart the class previously made. Allow the students to discuss the names of shapes as well as the different characteristics of each shape.
Step 7: Distribute the Shape Faces reproducible (PDF) to each student (remember to enlarge it to 11x17 paper). Also distribute the blocks or stamps of each space shape with paint.
Step 8: Walk through the first shape as a class. Discuss how to hold the block and use only one plain face in the paint. They should stamp each block next to the picture of the shape.
Step 9: Allow the students to fill in the sheet. I usually have only one block of each shape going at a time. I just move the blocks and paints to different groups until everyone has stamped all five shapes. This makes for only five blocks to wash instead of a bunch.
Step 10: Review the names of each shape and the names of each face. When the paint has dried the students can fill in the words from the word bank under each picture.
Supporting All Learners
This type of hands on activity really allows kinesthetic learners to succeed at mastering the concept. All students learn well with exploration as well. This lesson could be modified for struggling learners by filling in the words on the sheet and allowing the student to simply stamp the shapes.
Begin to discuss shapes they could find around their world. Ask students to look for shapes at home and in their neighborhood.
Do Shape Faces (PDF) project.
- What went well?
- What didn't go well?
- Did the students come with a lot of prior knowledge from first grade?
- Did the activity help them grow as learners?
- How could you change the lesson to better suite the needs of your class?
- How were the shapes and paints distributed and organized? Is there a more efficient way?
- Monitor the class as they stamp their papers and write the words under each picture.
- Ask and monitor for understanding during group discussions.