Math Background

Lesson: Identify Plane Shapes and Solid Shapes
Developing the Concept

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Your children gained practice in sorting and classifying plane shapes in the “Introducing the Concept” lesson. They will now compare solid shapes and relate plane shapes to the faces of solid shapes.

Materials: Geometric solids or manipulatives in the shapes of cubes, pyramids, rectangular prisms, cones, cylinders, and spheres. Have 1 manipulative for every 4 or 5 children; the following objects: a small rubber ball, an unopened tissue box shaped like a rectangular prism, a cube-shaped box, a can, a cone-shaped party hat and a pyramid (you might be able to find a pyramid candle); copies of the Solids (PDF file) and Face Match (PDF file) worksheets for every child and an overhead copy of each paper.

Preparation: Make a copy of each worksheet for every child as well as an overhead copy. Have the objects set out where they will be visible to the children. Divide children into groups of 4 or 5 (depending upon the number of manipulatives available).

Prerequisite Skills and Concepts: Children should be familiar with the names and attributes of plane shapes.

Begin by asking children to name four basic plane shapes. Have them describe the number of corners and sides for each shape.

Give each child a copy of the Solids (PDF file) worksheet and put the transparency copy on the overhead.

  • Say: Last time we learned about plane shapes. Today we are going to learn about solid shapes. Look at the overhead. Can anyone tell me the name of this solid shape?
    (Point to the cube.)
    Call on volunteers. If they correctly name the shape, have them come up and pick the cube-shaped box from the group of objects. Hold up the box.
  • Say: This box is a cube. When we talked about plane shapes we talked about how many sides and corners they had. When we talk about solid shapes we can also talk about how many flat surfaces or faces they have.
    Use the box to demonstrate what a face is. Give each group of children a cube.
  • Say: Count the number of faces this cube has. (Pause) Raise your fingers to show the number of faces.
    Each child should raise 6 fingers.
    Have the children write 6 on their worksheet.

    Discuss other attributes of the cube including the number of corners and whether it can roll or slide. Help children to see that solids with flat surfaces can slide along those surfaces. Have the children write the number of corners on their worksheet and circle “roll” or “slide” (or both).

    Repeat the activity with each solid shape and complete the worksheet. Remind children that a face is a flat surface. You may wish to have children trade worksheets and check the answers:

    cube: 6 faces, 4 corners; slides
    rectangular prism: 6 faces, 4 corners; slides
    pyramid: 5 faces, 5 corners; slides
    cylinder: 2 faces, no corners; rolls; slides
    cone: 1 face, 0 corners (It has a point.) rolls, slides
    sphere: 0 faces, 0 corners; rolls

    Have the groups retain the solid shapes they have collected.

  • Say: Let's take another look at the faces of the solid shapes.
    Explain that the faces of solids are made up of different plane shapes. Have children examine the pyramid.
  • Ask: Look at the pyramid. What shape is this face?
    Trace the outline of the triangular face with your finger. Children may say “triangle” or “triangular.”
  • Say: Let's trace the face and check your answer.
    Have a child from each group trace the triangular face of the pyramid on a piece of paper, as you demonstrate on the overhead. Then using the Face Match (PDF file) worksheet, instruct children to ring the triangle next to the pyramid.
  • Ask: Look at the pyramid. What other plane shape is a face on the pyramid?
    Children may recognize a square at the base of the pyramid. Suggest that they trace the face to check the answer. When the class has verified the answer, have them circle the square next to the pyramid on the worksheet.

    Work with the children as they repeat the activity with each solid shape, examining the faces and determining which plane shape they match. Check answers.

    pyramid: triangle, square
    cylinder: circle
    cube: square
    cone: circle
    rectangular prism: rectangle,(possible square)
    sphere: none

Wrap-Up and Assessment Hints
To assess children's knowledge of plane and solid shapes, play “I'm thinking of…” Give each child a set of shape cards. Describe the attributes of a solid or plane shape in the following manner, “I'm thinking of a solid shape with one round face.” Check to see that children hold up the correct card (cone). Repeat, giving clues for each shape.


Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 1