Lesson Plan:

Comparing Solids

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August 30, 2015
by Margie Morrissey

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to use language such as pyramid, prism, face, and edge to describe solids. Students will be able to compare 3-D solids using their attributes.


Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Invite your students to play "I Spy" with something familiar, such as colors.
  • Reintroduce the game by using the attributes of shapes of solids. For example: I spy with my little eye something that can stack.
  • Give your students three guesses before another attribute is added, such as: I spy with my little eye something that can stack and has 6 faces.
  • Ask your students to guess the shape. When it has been guessed, have that same student come up with another clue.

Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (15 minutes)

  • Explain to the students that they will be learning more about these solids.
  • Display a rectangular prism, and raise a discussion on the shape. Potential guiding questions include: What attributes does this rectangular prism have? Where have you seen a rectangular prism?
  • Repeat the questions with a cube and a pyramid.
  • Explain to your students that they will be using new vocabulary to describe the shapes.
  • Show a cube, and explain that the cube has six faces, or flat surfaces. Show that the cube has 8 vertices, or points, and that there are 12 edges, or lines that connect faces.

Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (10 minutes)

  • Give each group of students a rectangular prism, a triangular prism, or a square pyramid.
  • Have your students discuss how their solid is the same as another solid. Then, ask them to discuss how it is different from another group's solid.
  • Instruct your students to select a cone, a cylinder, a sphere, or a cube and compare it to their first solid.
  • Make sure your students are using new vocabulary to describe the solids.
  • Ask your students to record their observations on a sheet of paper or in a journal.

Independent Working Time (10 minutes)

  • Have groups of students display their solids and tell which attributes are the same and which are different.



  • Enrichment: Have your students draw the shapes on their own and fill in the faces with different colors. Ask your students to write a story that includes different solids.
  • Support: Bring in more real-world objects to show your students what 3-D shapes can look like.


Assessment (5 minutes)

  • Collect your students' notes on how their objects are similar and different.
  • Make sure that they are using the vocabulary from earlier in this lesson.

Review and Closing (5 minutes)

  • Review the names and attributes of solids.
  • Hold up two solids, such as a triangular prism and a pyramid. Ask questions about the shapes, such as: How are a pyramid and a triangular prism the same? How are they different? How do you think a triangular prism got its name?

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