Teaching 3D Figures in FDK

I love teaching 3D figures because the kids love it too!

Here is how I teach it!

On the first day I tell them that I have a special surprise.
I put a party hat, tennis ball, can of pop and a dice in a bag and pull them out one by one.
Then I ask them what they think they will be learning about in math next.
Usually the SK's will guess 3D figures ;)

Then I start our anchor chart.
On the first day we start by labeling each 3D figure we are going to learn.
Some years I stick to just the basic 4 (cylinder, sphere, cube & cone) and some years I add pyramid and rectangular prism.  I did all 6 this year since I have so many smarties in my class!

(The anchor chart below only has four because the pyramid and rectangular prism 
was on the second chart and I forgot to snap a pic of it)

This Harry Kindergarten video is always a hit!
Click here to watch it on YouTube!

Most of the following activities can be found in my 3D for Kindergarten Hands-On Centres & Printable pack on TPT by clicking here or on he images below!

On the second day we learned the 3D figure poem and practiced putting the sentences in order and matching the picture to the correct lines.

I also put it out as a centre choice and the students practiced putting together and reading the poem!
I thought this might be a little hard but they did such a good job working together and reading the poem :)

You can download the poem in both colour and black & white by clicking on the pictures below!

On the third day I introduced these 3D figure mini posters so that the students could use them as a reference for the rest of the unit/year.

I also "read" this wordless book and it was great!
I highly recommend it.
There are many examples of where we can find 3D figure in our lives!
We used this book to add to our "It looks like a..." section of our anchor chart.

Another centre choice was this "My Book of 3D Figures".
Again I thought this might be a little tricky but the kids did SUCH a good job with it!

I was noticing that they were really "getting it" this year and wanted to challenge some of my higher achievers.  We already talked about where the "face" was on a 3D figure by adding smily face stickers to each face of the 3D figures we were learning as a group.

Then I also introduced the vocabulary edge and vertex with this chart.

Another big hit was the marshmallow and toothpick 3D figure building centre!
I made building cards to place at the centre to help guide the students.
They did really well and of course the best part was when they got to eat the marshmallows after they were finished building ;)

On the first day of our unit I sent home this parent letter to encourage the kids to look for 3D figures at home.

Then I set-up our 3D figure museum!

Usually this is where we store our centre bins but I removed them for the week so that I could have this space.  I taped the museum sign (which I now realize is spelt wrong.. oops!) and the figure cards down and divided the shelves with masking tape.

We sorted the items into the corrrect spot as the kids brought them in.  They did such a good job!

On the last day we graphed the objects in our 3D figure museum and talked about which figure had the most, which figure had the least and if any had the same number of items.

Aaand here is the assessment sheet I use.
Click on the image below to download a copy!

Here is how I use it.

First I put all of the 3D figures I'm going to assess in a clear ziplock bag.
Then I conference with each student.
First I show them the bag and ask them "What are these called?" and write their response.

Then I tell them that I'm going to show them a 3D figure and I want them to tell me the name of each shape.  Next I ask them to describe the shape.  If they cannot come up with anything on their own I will prompt them with sentences like

"What 2D shapes do you see on the cone?"
"Do you remember what the flat part of a 3D figure is called?"
"How many faces are on this cylinder?" etc.

Finally I ask them to give me an example of a real-life object for each 3D figure.
I write down their responses in the corresponding boxes.

The "Notes" at the bottom are for any extras.  For example I might ask them to name the rectangular prism and pyramid and if they get those I will jot that down there.

Here is our math wall at the end of the unit.

Here is a close-up of the learning goals and success criteria for this unit posted in the top left corner.
You can download a copy for free by clicking on the picture below.

Here are pictures of the kids making their 3D figure structures.
My ECE typed up their oral descriptions of their creations.

It says things like:

"I made a sandcastle out of a sphere, a cylinder, a prism and a pyramid."

"My castle has 2 triangular prisms, 2 cylinders and 1 pyramid."

On the right side of our bulletin board is a mish mash of guided writing activities they compleated with my ECE.

Some are pictures of students drawing and labeling 3D figures.
Some are students drawing and writing about the 2D shapes and number of faces they see on 3D figures.

I have to say I am loving math this year and this has been one of the funnest units to teach yet!

Do you have any go-to 3D figure activities?

Please share if you do!


Added 08.10.21

I now have a digital 3D figure unit! Click here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Digital-Math-for-Kindergarten-3D-Figures-Google-Slides-6248682 to learn more or on any of the images below:

1 comment

  1. You have a great blog and lots of terrific ideas. I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. You can check out the link to my post with all of the details. http://luvmykinders.blogspot.com/2014/11/liebster-award.html Hope you have a great week.

    Luv My Kinders