Lesson Plan

Shapes Inside Shapes

Look all around! We can find 2D shapes inside 3D shapes wherever we go! In this lesson, students will sort shapes and recognize the 2D components of common 3D shapes.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Outer Space Shapes pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Outer Space Shapes pre-lesson.

Learning Objectives

Students will relate 2D shapes to 3D shapes, while understanding differences between the types of shapes. Students will name 3D shapes such as cubes, cones, cylinders, and spheres. Students will sort 2D shapes from 3D shapes.

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


(5 minutes)
3D-2D Assessment3D Anchor Chart3D Shapes PosterMatching Shapes3-Dimensional ShapesSort 2D and 3D Shapes
  • Introduce the students to similarities by displaying the 3-Dimensional Shapes worksheet on the board.
  • Ask the students to find two objects that are alike and point to them.
  • Have the students take turns pointing to objects that are similar.
  • Using the objects on the page, explain that 3D shapes are not flat and have a special form and that these objects are examples of 3D shapes.
  • Next, tell the students that they will be looking at how 2D, or flat, shapes are similar and different from 3D shapes.
  • Explain to your students that sometimes they can find flat 2D shapes on 3D shapes.


  • Provide a glossary of vocabulary words for students to reference in their home language (L1).
  • Use songs or visuals to review 2D shapes.


  • Show real-world examples of 3D shapes.
  • Invite students to echo each shape name while you point to a visual of the shape.

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