Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Explore Three-Dimensional Shapes

Sherry McCullough
Bay District Schools


Students are “Shapes” for the day, They are assigned to a shape group and will be exploring three-dimensional shapes. They are continuing to review map skills and two-dimensional shapes while being involved in fun and enriching activities.


The student uses simple maps, globes, and other three-dimensional models to identify and locate places.

The student knows two-dimensional shapes (for example, circles, squares, rectangles, triangles), describing similarities and differences.

The student sorts three-dimensional objects by varied attributes (for example, identifying which can roll, stack, or slide).

The student sorts three-dimensional objects according to geometric shapes (for example, cubes, spheres, cylinders, cones).

The student knows terms that describe relative location (for example, near, far, up, down, left, right, behind, in front).

The student knows the locations of various places in the school (for example, office, library, playground, cafeteria, bathrooms).


-Shape flashcards
-Wooden shape blocks
-Grag bag filled with three-dimensional shaped objects such as cones, cylinders, cubes and spheres
-Board or chart and markers, worksheet
-Pre-cut real life three dimensional shaped items such as lighthouses, ice cream cones, coke cans, ice cubes, etc.

Items for reinforcement of maps and two-dimensional shapes:
-Shapes flashcards
-School campus maps
-Building site shapes
-Wooden and cardboard puzzles
-Old maps
-Drawing paper
-Markers or pencils
-Wooden/plastic shapes


1. Gather today's lesson materials: three-dimensional flashcards, grab bag with items, wooden shape blocks, glue, chart or board with markers, pencils, worksheets, and Ellison pre-cut paper three-dimensional shaped objects.

2. Items for review or reinforcement of map skills and two-dimensional shapes include: shape flashcards, school campus maps and building site shapes, wooden or cardboard map puzzles, plastic/wooden shapes, old maps, drawing paper, and markers or pencils.


Day 4 of the unit, Shapes are Everywhere at School

1. Briefly review two-dimensional shapes, their similarities and differences at the beginning of the lesson by asking questions such as: Hanna, can you identify the shape on the flashcard? Yes, it is a triangle. Please describe the shape and some ways it is similar/different from the other two-dimensional shapes. Great job! The triangle has three sides and is not round like the circle and it is much like the square and rectangle because it does has sides as they do. 0r Norman, can you name this shape and describe similarities or differences? No, remember this shape has three sides not four. It is a triangle. It is similar to shapes that have sides and different from a circle because the circle round.

Then, review the school campus map and building site locations. Place the building site shapes on the appropriate locations on the school campus map. Encourage students to follow directions like: Mary, find the correct location of our classroom on the school campus map and place the building site shape there. Good work! You placed our classroom shape in the appropriate place on the map. Or, JoAnn, place the building site shape for the cafeteria in the correct location. Look again, the cafeteria needs to be placed within the main building, next to the fourth grade classrooms.

Some other questions may include:
-Why do we need maps?
-Can you identify the building site next to the principal's office?
-What shape is round and has no sides?
-Which shape has two long sides and two short sides?
-Is the girls' bathroom across from our class?
-(Give students opportunities to use relative location terms like near,
across from, left, right, etc.)

Formatively assess students' understanding of previously taught lessons. Teacher needs to listen for specific understanding of two-dimensional shapes and map skills. Use the above questions to assess the students' understanding. If students need re-direction, reteach materials as needed.

2. Next, introduce three-dimensional shapes by first showing the three-dimensional shapes to students, allowing them to look at and manipulate each of the shapes- the cylinder, cone, sphere, and cube. Discuss and describe each shape. You may say: Let's look at the sphere. It's round like a circle and can roll. Let's look at it, feel it and see if it really does roll. Continue this procedure with each of the three-dimensional shapes making comments about their geometrical shape and attributes.

Other questions may include:
-Can you think of a real world item that is shaped like a sphere?
-Will the sphere stack on top of other shapes?
-Can the sphere slide?
-Can you demonstrate your answer for me?

Allow time for students to explore and manipulate while the teacher leads the discussion about these shapes. Ask specific questions like: Matt, what does a cone look like and can you show me whether it slides, stacks or rolls? Wow, great description and demonstration.

Then assign the students to a shape group for the day (they eat with the group; work with the group; etc.). *This activity serves as a reinforcement of three-dimensional shapes. Being associated with a particular shape and really thinking about that shape throughout the day makes the students more aware of the shapes themselves. Throughout the day, ask students to identify their three-dimensional shape, its attributes, and similarities/differences. They will receive treats or stickers for correct responses.

3. During circle time, play the grab bag game where students try to guess what shape they feel inside the bag. They describe what the shape feels like; what it might be; can it roll, stack or slide; what is its geometric shape.

Formatively assess the students' understanding of the three-dimensional shapes by listening to their description of the shape they are feeling within the bag. Ask questions like: Linda, what does the shape feel like? Describe what it might be. Can the shape slide, roll or stack? (Once the shape is removed, discuss the shape.) Reinforce by saying: Linda, wonderful! You really knew your shape. It is a cone and it does slide and roll.

4. Students complete a three-dimensional shapes worksheet (gluing pre-cut real life three-dimensional shaped items such as lighthouses, ice cream cones, coke cans, ice cubes, etc. under appropriate picture labeled shape columns).Assess understanding of three-dimensional shapes as you grades the worksheet. Use assessment to help guide lesson presentations.

5. Provide opportunities throughout the day for reinforcement of today's lesson objectives, as well as, map skills and two-dimensional shapes. Use these suggested activities:

a) I Spy Game(described in lesson 2, Let's Learn the Shapes!)

b) Shape flashcards

c) School campus maps and building site shapes (placing appropriate areas on

d) Drawing paper, markers or pencils for drawing maps or shape pictures, etc.

e) Wooden or cardboard map puzzles for use during free or play time

f) Wooden/plastic shapes and shape blocks for exploring, manipulating, or sorting by geometric shapes during free or play time

g) Provide a time at the end of the day for reviewing lesson highlights.

This again provides an excellent chance for the teacher to assess
student understanding of the lesson and mastery of skills. Teacher will listen and observe students in the suggested activities. Ask questions as appropriate. Questions such as: Carey, can you show me where the classroom belongs on the school campus map? Or Jack, could you show me whether or not the cone will stack, roll and/or slide?


Formative assessment occurs throughout each stage of the lesson. Assess giving feedback and reteach as needed to be sure lesson objectives are reached. See lesson procedures for more specific criteria.


1. Provide extra one-on-one help for ESE and ESOL students as needed. Provide lots of hands-on manipulatives for them to reinforce shapes and map skills. Reteach as needed.

2. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files, (if any).

Attached Files

Attached Files.     File Extension: pdf

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