EL Support Lesson

Outer Space Shapes

In this fun space themed lesson plan, students will learn practice comparing and contrasting 2D and 3D shapes. This can be used as a stand alone lesson or pre-lesson for the **Shapes Inside Shapes** lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Shapes Inside Shapes lesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Shapes Inside Shapes lesson plan.

Students will compare and contrast 2D shapes to 3D shapes.


Students will be able to describe differences between 2D and 3D shapes using sentence frames.

(2 minutes)
  • Gather the class together for a read aloud and display the cover of the book, Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes.
  • Ask students to turn and talk to share with a partner what they know about outer space.
  • Invite students to share out ideas. Review any new vocabulary words (e.g., astronaut, planet, rocket ship) as needed.
  • Explain that Captain Invincible is going to be searching for shapes and we get to help!
(15 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that today, they will be learning about two groups of shapes.
  • Using the Vocabulary Cards and Glossary, provide the definitions and show examples of both 2D (flat) and 3D (solid) shapes. Tell students how they can look at two shapes and decide if it belongs to the 2D or 3D shape family, by figuring out if the shape is flat (2D) or solid (3D). You can model this by displaying a 2D shape such as a paper next to a 3D shape such as a rectangular prism.
  • Hold up one of the example shapes and ask if they think it is a 2D or 3D shape.
(10 minutes)
  • Read aloud the book, pausing to define 3D shapes using the Vocabulary Cards and model shapes collected for this lesson.
  • As you try to figure out if a shape is 2D or 3D, ask students to give a thumbs up or thumbs down to share their opinion.
  • Make a T-chart to compare 2D and 3D shapes as you read the book.
  • Model identifying similarities and differences between shapes and provide turn and talk opportunities for students to use the sentence frame, "The ____ is similar to the ____ because ____. The ____ is different from the ____ because ____."
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that now students will get to go on their very own shape scavenger hunt with a partner. They will be working together to identify three things that are 3D shapes and three things that are 2D shapes in the classroom and draw what they find.
  • Model how to fold their paper in half and write 2D on one side and 3D on the other side. Instruct students to record what they find on their papers by drawing each item.
  • Pair students with a partner. Pass out Vocabulary Cards, paper, clipboards, and pencils to each student.


  • Allow students to compare and contrast shapes in their home language (L1).
  • Work with students in a teacher-led small group to practice comparing and contrasting 2D and 3D shapes.


  • Pass out the optional worksheets for students to complete.
  • Pair students with a partner and have them practice identifying the shapes by name and describing their differences and similarities, using the Glossary and Vocabulary cards as support.
(5 minutes)
  • Check in with student pairs to assess if they are able to identify 2D and 3D shapes.
  • Ask guiding questions to each group to check understanding. For example, "What kind of shape is this? How do you know? How is it different/same as this shape?"
  • Collect student work samples at the end of the lesson to assess if students were able to sort shapes into the two categories.
(3 minutes)
  • Call the class back together to share their findings.
  • Invite each pair to share one 3D shape and one 2D shape with the class. Record student findings on a class T-chart labeled 2D/3D shapes.
  • Model comparing and contrasting the 2D and 3D shapes found with student input.

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