Elementary Mathematics
Material Type:
Lower Elementary
  • 3-D
  • Geometric
  • Kindergarten
  • Lesson Plan
  • Math
  • Video
  • uolk-2
  • uollesson
  • uolmath
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Naming and Identifying 3-D Shapes

    Naming and Identifying 3-D Shapes


    In this lesson students will be learning about 3-D shapes. They watch a video about 3-D shape and how to describe those shapes by identifying the number of faces those shapes have. Students will then either find examples of 3-D shapes in the classroom and photograph them or they will create 3-D shapes using toothpicks and playdough.

    Image Citation: Picture taken by Amanda Lawing


    Students will engage in a lesson where they learn to identify and name various 3-D shapes, well as how many faces each shape has.  This lesson supports kindergarten math standards K.G.1, K.G.3, and K.G.5. 

    Length and Format:

    • 40 minutes
    • Face-to-face or virtual, asynchronous

    This lesson will utilize a video that students can watch as many time as needed to understand the various 3-D shapes, their names, and identifying features. For the assessment, students will have multiple ways to demontrate mastery of the concept. Both allowing for personalized learning depending on a students interest and needs.

    Students will go on a scavenger hunt in the classroom to discover various "real-life" 3-D objects to foster inquiry and growth mindset.

    Students will interact with the video by helping to solve the puzzle, creating a positive online experience. Additionally, if available, students will upload images of 3-D to Seesaw to demonstrate mastery and appropriate digital citizenship by creating a verbal citation.


    Background for Teachers

    To teach this lesson you will need to be familiar with the various 3-D shapes (cube, pyramid, cylinder, sphere, rectangular prism*) and how many faces each of these shapes has. Prior to this lesson, students should be familar with 2-D shapes.

    *The video for this lesson refers to the rectangular prism as a cuboid. 




    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Step 1 Goals and Outcomes


    Learning Intentions:

    • Students will be able to identify and name 3-D shapes and their identifying number of faces.
    • I can name 3-D shapes and how many faces they have. (Student I can.. statement)

    Success Criteria:

    • Students will find 3-D shapes in their environment and/or create 3-D shapes with clay and toothpicks.
    • Students will name the identified shapes correctly and describe they using the terminology "faces". 


    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Step 2 Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge

    Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of 2-D shapes including their names and identifying characteristics such as number of sides and corners. 

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    To help diverse learners with this lesson, having models of the various shapes both 2-D and 3-D available. Students can utilize the model shapes to compare to "real-life" shapes in the classroom. Additionally, teachers may want to make use of the game I Spy Shapes through the Preschool Path located on Utah Online Library to help activate background knowledge. 

    Step 3 - Instruction

    Step 3 Instruction

    Display a 2-D shape for the class to see. Ask the students to name the shapes and the describe them  (e.g. That is a triangle. It has 3 sides and 3 corners). Repeat for all the 2-D shapes (square, rectangle, circle, etc.).

    Next choose a 3-D shape such as a cube and display it next to its matching 2-D shape (square). Ask students what is different about these two shapes (e.g.One is flat on the table, one sits on top of the table; I can hold one in my hand). Ask if anyone knows the name of the 3-D shape (most will answer box). Tell them the name of the shape and that we call it a 3-D, or solid, shape. Tell the class that today they will be learning about 3-D shapes. Show the remaining shapes and tell the shape names.

    Introduce the term 'face'. Explain to the students that just like 2-D shapes have sides that help describe them, 3-D shapes have 'faces'. Faces can be either flat or curved. We use faces to describe 3-D shapes. 

    Show the eMedia video Number Crew. Changing Faces. You can either show this whole group, or if you have the ability, put it in a LMS such as Canvas or Seesaw. (At the end of the video, the host asks the kids if they know what shape as 4 faces. This is not a kindergarten skill, but it is a tetrahedron, if your students ask.)

    When students are finished watching the video, have them turn and talk to a partner to tell what they have learned about 3-D shapes and faces.

    Ask students to look around the room and find some 3-D shapes. Call on several students to share what they have found, giving the name and how many faces.

    Tell students that they will have a choice to show what they know. They can either build the 3-D shapes with toothpicks and playdough or they may take pictures of 3-D shapes they have found in the classroom. In both cases, they will need to describe their shape with the name and the number of faces.


    Step 4 - Assessments

    Step 4 Assessments

    Students will find or create 3-D shapes and describe their shapes with the shape name and the appropriate number of faces. Students will choose how they wish to demonstrate mastery.

    Students who wish to build 3-D shapes will need to use the toothpicks and the playdough. They will create small balls of playdough to connect toothpicks to create 3-D shapes. They will then describe the 3-D shape by stating its name and its number of faces. For the sphere, students can just use the playdough.


    Students can use their iPads (Chromebook)