Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Exploring 3D Shapes

Recently we have been learning about three dimensional shapes so I purchased this set of View-Thru Geometric Solids from Modern Teaching Aid to support our learning. As my son (8yrs old) is a visual and kinesthetic learner, this set of geometric shapes works best for his learning style.

I would like to share some of the ways that my children have used these geometric shapes for their learning, not just for my advanced learner but also for my early learners. I will also share my printable 3D Shape Cards.

Prior Knowledge 
Before learning about 3D shapes, it would benefit the learner to have a basic understanding about 2D shapes such as triangles, squares, rectangles, circle and pentagons. You can download a FREE copy of 2D Shape Cards and see some of the hands-on ways we have used them.          

Geometry Terminology
By having these geometry shapes to touch and hold, we were able to see the different features of each shape. We used play dough (pictured below) to make prints of each shapes base (pentagon) and sides (rectangle) while we counted the number of edges and corners on each shape. In doing this, we were able to see the 2D shapes that help form the 3D shapes. 

Learning the Shapes
I introduced the three-part cards to my son in order to help build his vocabulary of shape names and help his memory with learning shape names. We started with the control card (the card with the picture and word/name on it) and talked about the name of the shape and the features (base and sides). Although my daughters are still very young, they were able to say the names of the shapes (repeated after me) and match the shapes to the cards.

Learning for my son was extended further by matching the picture card then the word card to the control cards (pictured below).

This activity was repeated a few times until my son could match just the word card to the shape without using the control card.

Exploring Shapes with Light
Using light, whether it is from a light box or natural light from the sun, is a wonderful way to engage the visual learner. My children were able to use the control cards on our light box to match then recall the name of each shape.

My daughters are still young, being only three and four years old, so their learning about three dimensional shapes was very basic. Using the light box, they have explored these shapes by building, stacking and looking at the different colours the blocks make in the light.

My children explored shadows and colours by using the natural morning sunlight and our geometric shapes. You can read more about Exploring Light and Colour as well as 15+ play-based Colour Activities.

Further Learning
Other math concepts that can be learnt by using these geometric shapes could include colour, volume, capacity, estimation and measurement.

I hope this has given you some ideas on the different hands-on ways learners can play with 3D shapes. If you would like a copy of my printable cards, you can download them here, 3D Shapes -Three Part Cards.

You can find more geometry learning ideas from my pin boards, Maths - Geometry and Early Learning - Shapes.

This blog post has been linked up with: Reading Confetti Montessori Nature Classroom Freebies Manic Monday


  1. I really like the look of those shapes. We have some wooden ones but I love the colours of these ones. We are looking at shapes at the moment too at the moment :)

    1. There are 14 shapes in this set and they are such great value!

  2. Could you share where you got this set?

    1. I purchased this set of View-Thru Geometric Shapes from Modern Teaching Aids. I have put a link in at the top of this blog post that you can follow. I hope that helps.

  3. Thank you, I like your post!! I found shapes on Amazon :

    1. That is fantastic! Thanks for sharing the link.

  4. These are such great, thoroughly detailed ideas! Thanks!
    Reading and Writing Redhead

    1. You're welcome and thank you for your comment. Hope you stop by my blog again.

  5. Love your pictures! Great idea to use the 3-D shapes with play dough. What a god way to see the different 2-D shapes they are composed from!

    The Math Maniac

  6. Thanks, these will really be useful when I do my geometry unit.

  7. Love the post! I'm featuring it at Every Star Is Different with one photo as part of a round up of 3 Dimensional Shapes and Printables. Thank you so much for all of your hard work and willingness to share your fabulous printables!