10 Activities for Describing 3D Shapes in Kindergarten (K.G.3)

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Describing 3D shapes in kindergarten is now an expectation as it is a key geometry standard. Also referred to by its indicator number K.G.3 this standard focuses on four main 3D shapes – the cylinder, sphere, cube and cone. Students should be able to describe the faces, vertices and edges of each shape. So, what are some activities for practicing this standard? Let’s dive in!

First quarter we had to master the name of 2D shapes. Second quarter we gained mastery over the descriptions of those shapes (circle, triangle, rectangle, hexagon and square). This quarter we are identifying 3D shapes and can you guess what we’re working towards for next quarter? If you tracked the logic, then you’re right. We’re going to be 3D shape description experts.

So that means I’ve been scoping out plans to incorporate this standard into little bits of our day so that way I can get in a lot of repetition without spending a lot of time here. So, in my best attempt to make today’s post interactive and as 3D or 4D as I can get (if you print it, you can touch it – voila!), here are a few free downloads I created (as well as more resources below that I found) to help your kinders practice these standards:

• K.G.1.d. Identify and name the following shapes: cubes, cones, cylinders, and spheres
• K.G.3.b. Identify shapes as three-dimensional and solid.
• K.G.4.b. Describe three-dimensional shapes to identify their various attributes including faces and edges.

1. Shape Description Chants – These chants are designed to be quick, familiar songs that teach. I love using songs to help students both recall important information and to practice. These should help key in on the most important descriptions for each shape including the faces and vertices (corners).

2. Shape Identification/Description Bingo - This classic game features both real world examples and simple 3D shapes to practice identifying or describing shapes. The shapes are also rotated since students are supposed to be able to identify no matter the orientation.

Once we are more familiar with the descriptions, I use bingo for students to practice as the “caller” and they describe the shape that the players are to cover up. We play this very fast so all kinders get a turn to describe in our small groups. Informal assessment… check!

3. Video – You’ll appreciate the 3 minutes you spend watching this just a few times with your kinders. The catchy tune will have this embedded in their minds to help them recall the names but also be able to compare it to real world examples. This is the perfect introduction to comparing why things that are all shaped like a cone have the same qualities (1 curved face… 1 flat circle face).

 source: ketchenskindergarten.blogspot.com/

4. Penguin Playtime – Turn this identification game into a describing game by hiding the fish under a 3D shape card. Students call out a shape description in order to peek underneath. The game continues until the dinner has been found. Integrate this into your calendar time and give 2 chances a day to make quick, fun practice.

 source: lilcountrykindergarten.blogspot.com

5. Poetry – Copy this poem onto pocket strips and work on connecting the real world objects to the 3D shape names. You can also hit rhyming and it’ll connect great to One Fish Two Fish (if you work on it in March during Dr. Seuss‘ birthday since it ends with “3D shapes are everywhere.”

 source: teacherspayteachers.com

6. 3D Fluency Mat – This mat is designed to work with small groups. I use a guided math approach to teach my kinders, so this is a warm up for us is quick to fit in and gives the right amount of repetition. Turn it into an activity by describing a shape and the first one to identify/cover it gets to describe another shape and the play continues on.

 source: kindergartenrhode.blogspot.com

7. Real Object Sort – This free download includes picture cards of real world objects that students can sort into shape groupings. Works great for categorizing and explaining why and what features the objects all have in common. Laminate these cards and have students trace the 3D shape outline with wikki sticks to make it more interactive.

 source: mrsisclass.blogspot.com

8. 3D Shape Booklet – Have the students create their own booklet by finding objects in the classroom (like a hunt) that are the same 3D shape. You can always increase the level of describing by using colors to identify the types of faces, markers to trace the shape’s edges and glue on split peas to show the vertices (that are visible).

9. 3D Sorting Cards / Posters – These cards and posters make help you create your own activity or give your students real world objects to sort. This one features photographs instead of clipart like number 7 so it may be more appealing to your students.

10. Eating 3D Shapes – Bringing food into what we do always makes an activity high interest! Here are two ways that you could use foods to visually see and describe the faces, edges and vertices. I think I would use this in combination with the booklet mentioned in number 8 and have students draw or take photos for them to include. Having all students explore how their shapes will move is definitely an activity to introduce why certain shapes will move the same way… For example, will all shapes with a curved face roll? Will they all slide? It is my intention that you will feel confident and armed with these activities in your arsenal as you work towards mastering the Common Core standard K.G.3 this year.

Think you have found 1 or 2 that’ll work for you and your class? I’d love to hear which one(s) you’ll try!

Leslie is the author of KindergartenWorks. She teaches kindergarten students how to be pretty incredible along with teaching them to read, write and think for themselves. She enjoys graphic design, learning new things and sharing with teachers. Google+

• Robyn Ann

Where is the link to the song?

• http://www.kindergartenworks.com Leslie @KindergartenWorks

Robyn, Click on the green words for the link.
– Leslie

• Veronica Russell

I had already started this unit with the same video before finding your page! Such great ideas, all of them. I have a feeling the real life object & card sorting activities, the chant, and the food ones will work well but we will find out soon enough haha!

• http://www.kindergartenworks.com Leslie @KindergartenWorks

Thanks for sharing Veronica – and welcome!
– Leslie

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