EL Support Lesson

3-D Scavenger Hunt

Explore 3-D shapes with your students and help them identify and talk about the relevant attributes of three-dimensional shapes, all while using real-world examples! Use this as a stand-alone lesson or alongside the Shape Models lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Shape Models lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Shape Models lesson plan.

Students will be able to identify the attributes of 3-D shapes.


Students will be able to describe 3-D shapes in real-world context using vocabulary cards and small groups for support.

(2 minutes)
  • Hold up a Kleenex box and a cut-out of a two-dimensional (2-D) rectangle (or draw one on the board).
  • Ask students to think-pair-share which object is a 2-D shape and which object is a three-dimensional (3-D) shape with an elbow partner.
  • Allow a few students to share out their ideas.
  • Explain to the students that today they will learn how to identify 3-D shapes, like the tissue box, and the attributes, or characteristics, that go along with each shape!
(7 minutes)
  • Put students in small groups and pass out a copy of the Vocabulary Cards worksheet to each student.
  • Project the Vocabulary Cards worksheet on the whiteboard and read through the student-friendly definitions. Pause after you introduce the first shape and model how to use the sentence frame below to come up with another object that you've seen at school or at home that resembles the shape:
    • ____ (insert shape name) also reminds me of a ____ because ____.
  • Explain to the students that you want them to think about another example of each of the shapes on the vocabulary cards. Say, "Look around the classroom and think back to your house. What shapes have you seen that remind you of a ____ (e.g. cone, rectangular prism, square-based pyramid)?"
  • Instruct students to think-pair-share their ideas with a partner after you read each shape's definition and show the corresponding visual.
  • Explain to the students that today they will be going on a scavenger hunt to find examples of 3-D shapes in their classroom!
(5 minutes)
  • Display the examples of 3-D shape models so students can see them.
  • Play the "Faces, Vertices, and Edges" Song for the students.
  • Have students think-pair-share with an elbow partner one thing they learned from listening to the song. Provide sentence stems, such as:
    • I learned that a(n) ____ (attribute) is a ____.
  • Project the 3-D Scavenger Hunt Activity on the whiteboard. Hold up the 3-D cube model so all students are able to see.
  • Complete the example problem with the class. Use the visual on your cube vocabulary card to complete Real-World Example #1 on the worksheet. Next, ask a student volunteer to find an object in the room that resembles a cube. Draw a picture of the object under Real-World Example #2. Next, ask a student to come up to the front of the room to help you count the faces, vertices, and edges on the 3-D cube model. Fill in the correct information on the worksheet.
(15 minutes)
  • Pass out the 3-D Scavenger Hunt Activity to each student. Keep students in their partnerships and explain that first they will use their vocabulary cards to fill in Real-World Example #1 on their worksheets. Next, they will look around the classroom to find example objects for the shape. Finally, they will count the shape's faces, vertices, and edges.
  • Elaborate that it's important for partnerships to work together as they fill out their worksheets. If students disagree with their partner, they need to explain why. Write sentence stems/frames on the whiteboard and model completing them prior to letting students begin their scavenger hunts. Example sentence stems/frames include:
    • I agree that ____ (object) is a ____ because ____.
    • I disagree that ____ (object) is a ____ because ____.
  • Rotate around the classroom as students are completing their scavenger hunts and observe student discussions and choices.


  • Allow students to refer to the Glossary with visuals and vocabulary words written in English and their home language (L1).
  • Have students search for objects in the classroom that connect with each 3-D shape on their vocabulary card.
  • Encourage students to say the name of each shape (after you read its definition) in English.
  • Pair students with a sympathetic non-EL student or a student who speaks the same home language (L1).
  • Encourage students to refer to their vocabulary cards and glossaries during the assessment portion of the lesson.


  • Encourage students to discuss their ideas without using the sentence stems/frames for support.
  • Challenge students to come up with their own definitions of face, vertex, and edge based on their understanding from the lesson.
  • Instruct students to explain what they would add to their partner's ideas during group work and provide sentence stems to support their discussions as needed.
(8 minutes)
  • Collect student work and use it to assess understanding of 3-D shapes and their attributes.
  • Bring students back together and have them sit down at desks next to their partner from the scavenger hunt activity. Ask students to get out their math journals.
  • Project a photograph of a real-world example of one of the 3-D shapes discussed in today's lesson on the whiteboard.
  • Explain to students that you want them to write down what shape they see in their math journals. They should also include words, phrases, and brief sentences that justify why they think it is a certain shape.
  • After students finish, encourage them to look back at their work and explain what they know and how they know it is true.
  • Write the following sentence frame on the whiteboard and have students copy it into their math journals:
    • That is a ____. I know it is a ____ because ____. Another example of a ____ is ____.
  • Provide a word bank of shape's attributes for students to refer to as they complete their sentence frames.
  • Have students trade their written arguments with a peer who acts as a friend giving feedback on their justification and reasoning. Provide sentence stems, such as:
    • I agree with you because ____.
    • I disagree with you because ____.
  • Encourage students to refer back to their 3-D Shape Scavenger Hunt Activity worksheet and Vocabulary Cards for support as they complete the task.
  • Rotate around the classroom and listen to students as they justify and critique each other's arguments, providing support and guidance as needed.
(3 minutes)
  • Allow select students to share their justifications with the rest of the class. Clarify any misconceptions about the shape's name and attributes.
  • Explain to the students that there are 3-D objects all around us, and learning about them will help them in many careers they may choose in the future, such as jewellers, fashion designers, construction workers, astronomers, engineers, and architects!

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