Describing 3D shapes in kindergarten is now an expectation as it is a key geometry standard. This standard focuses on four main 3D shapes:
Students should be able to describe the faces, vertices, and edges of each shape.
So, what are some 3D shapes activities for kindergarten and resources for practicing this standard?
Let's dive in!
3D shapes in kindergarten
Look at the sequence of how we've taught shapes so far:
- 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 third quarter we are identifying 3D shapes...
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.
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 practicing 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.
Activities and resources
Here are some of my favorite resources that can do just that - work on this standard in little portions so students can master it - without spending lots of time on it.
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.
If we're talking about teaching 3D shapes kindergarten-style, then using music is a must!
2. Shape Identification or 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 them no matter the orientation.
3. 3D Shapes That I Know 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 3D shapes kindergarten video 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).
4. Hide-n-Seek Pirate Treasure - Turn this identification game into a describing game by hiding the treasure under a 3D shape card. Students call out a shape description in order to peek underneath.
The game continues until the pirate treasure chest has been found. Integrate this into your calendar time and give 2 chances a day to make quick, fun practice.
5. Poetry - Copy this poem onto pocket strips and work on connecting the real-world objects to the 3D shape names.
This names the main 3D shapes for kindergarten.
It 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.
7. Real Object Sort - This free download includes picture cards of real-world objects that students can sort into shape groupings.
It 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.
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).
This one features photographs instead of clipart (like number 7) so it may be more appealing to your students.
10. Eating 3D Shapes - Here are two ways that you could use foods:
Find any food is at the Dollar Tree that has the right 3D shape. Think: cylinder-shaped gum, cone-shaped Bugels, sphere-shaped cheese balls and cube-shaped caramels. Now, combine taste-testing with the booklet mentioned in number 8 of this list 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? Why? Create an anchor chart of your findings to help make everything stick!
There you have it - ten activities that you can use to practice describing shapes in kindergarten. I hope this collection will help you feel prepared and help you teach.
If you're looking for a way to explain what the difference between 2D and 3D shapes are you should check out how to explain 3D shapes to kindergarten.
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