Engaging Math Activities for 3D Shapes

This week we've been learning about solid shapes. We've done all the normal stuff: identify shapes, count faces, vertices, and edges, sort into groups, identified objects in our classroom that are a solid shape. And those things are all good learning activities, but none of those things put a smile on the kiddos faces quite like these three fun activities did.

Activity One: Bringing objects from home for a math show & tell. 
Simple, right? But the kids were just so happy to share their objects and tell about them. One day the children brought objects that were cubes or rectangular prisms. Surprisingly, they really enjoyed describing the shape to their friends. Students that brought an object explained what the object was, what 3D shape it is, the shape of each face and how many faces it has, and led the class in counting the vertices. 

The next day students brought spheres, cones, and cylinders from home. (I forgot to take a picture.) There were lots of soccer balls and a funnel, but not a single cylinder in the bunch. 

Activity Two: Constructing a cube using tooth picks and marshmallows.

About three-fourths of the class was able to construct the cube while I built a cube under the document camera. The remaining firsties got a little help from their friends. This lil guy built a very sturdy cube! A few other cubes had the wobbles. 

We talked about how the marshmallows are the vertices and the toothpicks are the edges. 

Of course, the best part was eating the marshmallows when we were done!

Activity Three: Guided drawing of a cone and sphere followed by an ice cream treat.
Today we did a guided drawing of a cone topped with a sphere.

Then I told the class to color their shapes to make them look like ice cream cones. 

They really did a great job! You can imagine their shock and surprise when I told them they could eat their eat their cone and sphere and pulled out mini party cones to eat :-)

Everybody LOVED math today.

This has nothing to do with 3D shapes, but one other very popular activity in math these days is SWAT. Every.single.day I get asked if we are going to play SWAT. 

Plane Shape SWAT

Time to the hour and half hour SWAT
If you are not familiar with SWAT, it's a speed game. Two students race to locate and swat the named shape, time, or object with a ruler or pointer. The winner gets to stay for the next round and the loser passes his ruler to the next player. I drew those shapes on small paper plates one day at lunch and I got the clock flash cards from School Specialty. If you can SWAT it, we've swatted it! (HELPFUL HINT: Make a one gentle swat limit or the kids will just swat them all.)

It's that time of year when I really have to kick it up a notch to keep the kids on task...there's just something about an impending break and a major holiday that gives first graders the wiggles. 

Happy holidays!

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