This activity will expose students to a variety of three-dimensional objects.
- Geometric Solids Parent Letterpdf
- Collected geometric solids
- Floor Graphing Mat
- Geometric Solids
- Rectangular prism
- 20 Instant Math Learning Centers Kids Will Love!, by Traci Ferguson Geiser and Krista Pettit;
ISBN 0439227291 (Scholastic)
- Block City, by Robert Louis Stevenson; ISBN 0689869649
- The Busy Building Book, by Sue Tarsky; ISBN 0698118200
- Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes, by Stuart J. Murphy; ISBN 0064467317
- Changes, Changes, by Pat Hutchins; ISBN 0689711379
- Cubes, Cones, Cylinders and Spheres, by Tana Hoban; ISBN 0688153259
- Geometric Shapes, by Mary J. Kurth; ISBN 3055402625
- Hands-On Math: K-1, by Virginia Johnson (Edited by Janet Bruno); ISBN 3055402600 (CTP
- Instant Math Centers: K-1, by Creative Teaching Press; ISBN 1574716891 (CTP 2597)
- Math Tub Topics: K-2, by Creative Teaching Press; ISBN 1574719548 (CTP 2812)
- Pattern Animals: Puzzles for Pattern Blocks, by Sandra Mogensen; ISBN 1569110867
- Pattern Block City, by Planet Dexter; ISBN 0201483610
- Pattern Blocks Problems for Primary People, by Linda Harvey and Ann Roper; ISBN
- Take it to Your Seat Math Centers K-1, by Jill Norris; ISBN 1557999317
- Can A Jumbo Jet Sing the Alphabet?, by Hap Palmer; ASIN: B00000I6UA
- Getting to Know Myself, by Hap Palmer; ASIN: B00004TVSF
- Learning Basic Skills Through Music Vol. 2, by Hap Palmer (http://www.happalmer.com)
- Math All Around Me, by Jack Hartmann (http://jackhartmann.com); Item #CD-08
- Musical Math, by Heidi Butkus (http://www.heidisongs.net);
- National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1509 16th St. N.W., Washington,
DC 20036 (202) 232-8777 or (800) 424-2460, http://naeyc.org
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-
1502 (703) 620-9840, http://www.nctm.org
Background for Teachers
Geometry is the study of the property and relationships of points,
lines, angles, surfaces and solids. Geometric shapes can be dated back
15,000 years. Geometric shapes were drawn on ancient artifacts and
cave walls. Geometry is divided into two categories: plane geometry
and solid geometry. Plane geometry is the study of two-dimensional
objects in one plane. Two-dimensional objects have length, width and
area but no volume. Solid geometry is the study of three-dimensional
shapes. Three-dimensional objects have length, width, height, area
and volume. The most common three-dimensional shapes are prisms,
cubes, cylinders, cones, spheres and pyramids.
We need to use the correct terminology when teaching solid
shapes. Kindergartners do not need to be able to name the objects yet,
but exposure to the correct names for three-dimensional objects will
help them in the future.
Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude.
2. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
3. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written and nonverbal form.
Invitation to Learn
Have students gather the geometric solids they brought from home.
Encourage students to examine their object and find a student who
has a similar object to the one they brought. Have students discuss the
similarities and/or differences while bringing them to the whole group
- Several days before this lesson, send home the Geometric Solids
Parent Letter with each student.
- Before beginning the lesson, have the Floor Graphing Mat in the
whole group area. As the students bring their geometric solids,
encourage them to sit on the perimeter of the Floor Graphing
- Show the students the cylinder. Have all the students who
brought a cylinder place their cylinders, one in each square, of
the Floor Graphing Mat. As a class, count the total number of
cylinders. Record the total number of cylinders on a sheet of
paper to be placed on the graph.
- Continue with the remaining solids, graphing, counting and
recording as you go.
- As a class, discuss the findings of your graph. Which has the
most, the least, etc.
- Gather the items collected from the students and place in an
area of the room where students can investigate the geometric
- After cleaning up the graph, you could set up a variety of
centers focusing on Geometric Shapes they could choose during
math time. Suggestions for centers are found in the Curriculum
Extensions/Adaptations/Integration section of this lesson.
Provide several centers focusing on shapes.
- Geometric Solid Investigation--Provide the center with a set
of Geometric Solids, magnifying glasses, paper, and pencils.
Encourage students to explore the geometric solids. Students
could sort the solids in a variety of different ways. Students
could also stack the solids and build different things. Have
students record what they learned about the solids or draw a
picture of what they did with the solids.
- Pattern Block Template--Provide the center with a set of
pattern blocks, and pattern block templates (like those available
on-line at Kelly's Kindergarten). Encourage students to recreate
the pictures using the pattern blocks.
- Pattern Block Creations--Provide the center with a set of
pattern blocks, paper, die-cut pattern blocks, and glue--or
pattern blocks stamps and stamp pads. Students will create
their own pictures using the pattern blocks. Students can then use paper to recreate their picture with the die-cuts or stamps to
- Block Play--Provide the center with blocks of all different
shapes and sizes, paper, pencils, and crayons. Encourage
students to build structures with the geometric solid blocks.
Have students draw a picture of their structure to take home.
- Geometric Solid Graph--Provide the center with the Floor
Graphing Mat, the solids the class brought from home, and
paper and pencils. Encourage the students to recreate the graph
done as a class. Students can record the findings of their graph
with the paper and pencils provided.
- Prepare a Take Home Backpack, which includes geometric solid
activities for students to share with their families. You could
include books on geometric solids, geometric solid sorting
- Send home a letter to parents encourage families to go on a
Family Geometric Solid Hunt together. Family members can all
draw pictures of the things they find on their hunt.
- During the geometric solid sorting and graphing activity,
observe students as they identify their object. Are they able
to sort their object on their own? Are they looking at their
classmates for help? Are they misidentifying their object? Make
a note of any students who are struggling.
- During Math Centers, walk around and make notes of student
behaviors, conversations, and any thought processes you
observe. Note any areas of difficulty or mastery of geometric
- Observe students and listen to the interaction and conversation
they are having during the whole group discussion on geometric
Andrews, A.G., (2004). Adapting manipulatives to foster the thinking of young
children. Teaching Children Mathematics, 11(1), 15-17.
Children can use pattern blocks to investigate and predict how
to combine shapes. By adding magnetic strips to the back of pattern
blocks, a teacher found it easier and less frustrating for her young
students to manipulate the blocks. The students were given more
opportunities to learn about the geometric terms of flip, slide and
Clements, D.H. (1999). Geometric and spatial thinking in young children. In Mathematics
in the Early Years, ed. J.V. Copley, 66-79. Reston: VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Passively looking at shapes does not help children formulate ideas
about shapes. Children's ideas about shapes "come as children's bodies,
hands, eyes... and minds...engage in action." Young children need to
not only see and name shapes but to explore them and learn their parts
and attributes. Manipulatives, especially solid manipulatives, help
children learn about geometric shapes through their senses.
Oberdorf, C., (1999). Shape up! Teaching Children Mathematics, 5(6), 340-345.
The common misunderstandings young children have about
geometry can be attributed to incorrect definitions of key vocabulary
words and to a small number of "authentic experiences" with
geometry. Manipulating objects, investigating objects and discussion
about objects really help build children's understanding of geometry.