EL Support Lesson

All About 3D Shapes

In this hands-on lesson plan, students will learn learn all about 3D shapes in the real world. Can be used as a stand alone lesson or pre-lesson for the **Solid Shapes** lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Solid Shapes: Identifying 3D Shapes lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Solid Shapes: Identifying 3D Shapes lesson plan.

Students will be able to identify 3D shapes in objects they use in their daily lives.


Students will be able to describe 3D shapes using sentence stems and visual supports.

(2 minutes)
  • Gather the class together for the start of the lesson.
  • Ask students, "What are some shapes that you know?"
  • Invite students to share the names of common 2D shapes and record these on the board (include both a visual and written name).
  • Reflect back to the students that these are all 2D or flat shapes.
  • Display the 3D items you collected to the class and ask them to turn and talk to a partner to share what they see using the sentence starter, "I see ____."
  • Explain that while these might be everyday objects, they are also all 3D shapes. Tell the class that today they will be learning all about 3D shapes.
(5 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that there are two families of shapes. Two-dimensional or flat shapes like the circle, square, triangle, or rectangle and 3D or solid shapes. Show students how to tell the different between 2D and 3D shapes by deciding if they are flat or solid (model this by having a ball and a flat circle side by side).
  • Using the everyday items you collected for this session, introduce each 3D shape (cylinder, globe, pyramid, rectangular prism, cone) to the students using the following process.
  • Hold up the can of soup, say the shape name, "cylinder" and have the students repeat after you. Pass the object around for students to hold, and describe the shape by its attributes. Refer to the Vocabulary Cards for support when listing attributes.
  • Repeat with the remaining 3D shapes.
(8 minutes)
  • Display the sphere Vocabulary Card. Say, "This is a sphere. What do you think makes it special?"
  • Instruct students to turn and talk to an elbow partner to share what makes the sphere special using the sentence starter, "A sphere is special because ____."
  • Create an anchor chart labeled, "3D Shapes" and make a column for "sphere", then ask pairs to share their ideas with the group. Record student thinking on the chart paper. Ask clarifying questions to get students thinking about everyday objects in the shape of a sphere. Capture student thinking on the anchor chart.
  • As needed, use the sphere Vocabulary Card to identify any additional attributes of the sphere.
  • Repeat this process with the remaining shapes.
(15 minutes)
  • Explain that students will now get to practice sorting shapes into two groups, either 2D or 3D shapes.
  • Display the 2D or 3D shapes worksheet and go over the instructions.
  • Review any independent work procedures.
  • Pass out student materials and worksheets.


  • Invite students to use their home language (L1) to describe shapes.
  • Work with students in a teacher-led small group to practice identifying 3D shapes by name using additional songs or stories.


  • Ask students to go on a 3D shape hunt in the classroom. Have students record their items and name the 3D shapes they found. Create a classroom chart titled, "Real-World 3D Shapes" for reflection.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate around the room and assess if students are able to accurately sort shapes into 2D and 3D categories.
  • Collect student work samples and assess if students were able to sort shapes into the matching categories. Take note of any misconceptions or areas of confusion.
(5 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together for closing and reflection.
  • Display several everyday items that show 3D shapes. Ask students what shape they see using the sentence starter, "I see a ____."

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