Math Background

Identify Plane Shapes and Solid Shapes: Tips and Tricks

  • Point out and have children listen for position words in everyday classroom activities. Make a tally chart to keep track of how many times you use each position word in a day.
  • Display plane shapes cut from construction paper around the room. Give children a minute to gather as many shapes as possible. Then have them sort their shapes by type or by a particular attribute.
  • Spend a little time each day playing a shape-matching game. Using a timer, give children two minutes to write down as many classroom objects as they can see that match a particular shape. Change the given shape each day, naming a plane shape on some days and a solid shape on others. You may also ask children to think of objects in other rooms, such as the cafeteria or the library, that match the shape of the day. Allow children to share their lists with the class.
  • Place 8 to 12 everyday objects into each of four shoeboxes. Divide the class into four groups and have each team sort the shapes in their box into categories by shape or by a specific attribute. Have team members explain why they sorted the shapes as they did.
  • Give each child in the class two common objects—one a plane shape (for example, a piece of notebook paper, a playing or index card, a sticky note, a paper coaster) and the other a solid shape (for example, a spool of thread, a party hat, a crayon box). Ask children to tell how many sides and corners their plane shapes have and how many faces their solid shapes have.
  • Make shape mobiles. Have children cut out pictures of solid shapes. Then give them paper triangles, circles, rectangles, and squares, or have them trace and cut out their own. Have them match each solid shape with the appropriate plane-shape face or faces. Have them tape the faces to strings to attach to the matching solid shape. The solid shapes can be taped to strings and tied to a coat hanger. Display the mobile in the classroom.
  • Have children look for patterns around the classroom. Examples might include patterns on clothing, patterns on bulletin board borders, patterns on folders or notebooks, and patterns formed by floor tiles. Have the children describe each pattern they find and predict what would come next in the pattern. If they have trouble finding patterns, give them hints using position words.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 1