Lesson Plan

Shape Models

With this activity, students will identify shapes, build 3-D shapes, and practice describing shapes with a partner.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the 3-D Scavenger Hunt pre-lesson.
View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the 3-D Scavenger Hunt pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

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

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(10 minutes)
  • Display examples of 2-D and 3-D shapes using blocks and flat shapes.
  • Hold up a 2-D shape, like a square, and ask students to identify the shape and share what attributes it has. Answers should include four sides, four corners, and a flat shape.
  • Ask students to look around the classroom and find something in the shape of a square.
  • Explain that this is a 2-D shape. Say, “Now I will show you some 3-D shapes.”
  • Show an example of 3-D shapes like a cube, pyramid, triangular prism, and rectangular prism one at a time. Before showing a shape, pair up your students and have one partner cover their eyes. Have the other partner describe the shape to them. See if they can guess the shape based on the description.
  • Explain that today they will be learning more about and building their own 3-D shapes.


  • Provide students with a bilingual glossary that includes visuals and important vocabulary from the lesson in English and student's home language (L1), such as attribute, cube, pyramid, triangular prism, and rectangular prism.
  • Have students practice saying the names of 3-D shapes to a peer who can provide accurate feedback prior to the lesson.


  • Have students compare and contrast what they notice about the 2-D shapes compared to the 3-D shapes with a partner.
  • Provide sentence stems, such as:
    • The shapes are similar because ________.
    • The shapes are different because ________.
  • Provide a word bank with a list of adjectives/phrases for students to refer to (e.g. flat, curved, straight, bigger, takes up more space, etc.)

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