In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about solid shapes, solid figures, and 3D shapes. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Solid Shapes topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching Solid Shapes
Provide a list of solid and plane shapes for your students to find on a scavenger hunt. You can list shapes or write clues, such as “Find a shape that rolls and has two faces.” Then have students or pairs go on a walk at school, on the playground, or in the classroom to find the shapes. Students can draw pictures and describe the items. Then after the activity, have students share the shapes that they found. You can use this opportunity to discuss how shapes are alike and different.
Use building blocks of different solid shapes and have your students trace all the faces on a piece of paper. What shapes make up a rectangular prism’s faces? What shapes make up a cylinder’s faces? Together as a class, make tree diagrams showing how a solid figure can be broken down into its faces. This will help your students relate three-dimensional solids with two-dimensional plane shapes.
Cut index cards into shapes that fit together as faces of a cube, rectangular prism, or pyramid. Then put the shapes into separate plastic bags with a drawing of the shape on the front. Give students tape and have them work with partners to build the three-dimensional solids. As an extension you can have students try to cut up their own cards to make their own three-dimensional shapes and trade them with friends.
Have students work in pairs or small groups. Give each pair or group a set of building blocks of different solid shapes or pictures of solid shapes. You may want to cut out photos or pictures from magazines of objects of different solid shapes. Then have one student sort the items and have the other students figure out the sorting parameters. Encourage students to sort not just by shape, color, or texture, but by number of faces, vertices, or edges. Have group members discuss each shape together.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching Solid Shapes
Getting into Shapes
Have your child put together different shapes to create a new shape. If you do not have building blocks at home, you can use household items such as cans, boxes, balls, and dice. Have your child put different objects or shapes together and then discuss the new shape. What happens if you put two cubes together? What shape does it become? Your child can stack and attach different shapes together to create a shape sculpture.
Organizing the Pantry
The kitchen or pantry is a great place to find different solid shapes. Have your child collect different items and sort them by shape. This will enable your child to see how the dimensions of rectangular prisms, cylinders, and other solid shapes can be drastically different. A tuna can is a cylinder that is short and squat, but a glass can be a cylinder that’s tall and skinny. Encourage your child to describe how the shapes are alike and different.