Amy Martin
Elementary Mathematics, Other
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Assessment, Diagram/Illustration, Interactive, Lesson, Lesson Plan, Media Object, Teaching/Learning Strategy
Lower Elementary
  • 2D Shapes
  • 3D Shapes
  • Geometry
  • Kindergarten
  • Lesson Plan
  • Math
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML, Video

    Education Standards

    2D vs 3D Shapes Lesson Plan

    2D vs 3D Shapes Lesson Plan


    This is a lesson plan that will help educators teach Kindergarten students about 2D and 3D shapes, how to identify, sort them and design their own using marshmallows and toothpicks. Assessments and Rubrics are included to assess students on identifying, sorting, and designing 2D and 3D shapes.

    The image used in the Image Title was a screen shot taken from the Youtube Assessment that is linked to the lesson plan. It is Titled "2D or 3D Shapes: Under the Sea Math Brain Break"  by Move and Groove Math It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 


    This lesson is in person and will take approxiamtely 30-40 minutes. Educators may break up the lesson into 2 days, for about 20 minutes each day.

    In this lesson, students will review flat shapes and solid shapes and their relative names. They will learn that they are also called 2D and 3D and can be identified as such. They will understand how to identify the differences between the 2D and 3D shapes. Students will sort common items in the classroom appropriately into the 2D and 3D shape categories. Students will then build 2 flat shapes (square and triangle) and 2 solid shapes (cube, and pyramid) using toothpicks and marshmallows. After constructing the models, students will be given an assessment to show their knowledge of 2D and 3D shapes.




    Background for Teachers

    To teach this lesson, you will need an understanding of 2D and 3D shapes and their appropriate names. Teachers also need to understand the importance of why students need the content knowledge of geometric shapes. 

    The following resource can help you understand and teach this topic:

    Vocabulary that students should know:

    • Solid
    • Flat
    • Names of these flat shapes: (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon)
    • Names of these soid shapes: (sphere, cylinder, pyramid, cube, retangular prism)

    Vocabulary you will teach in this lesson:

    • Deep

    This is another resource of a lesson plan that you might want to look at:



    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes


    Learning Intentions:

    • Students will be able to identify shapes as two-dimensional ("flat") or three-dimensional ("solid"): Standard K.G.3

    Success Criteria:

    • Students will analyze, compare, and sort two- and three-dimensional shapes and objects, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, and other attributes (for example, shape and number of sides).  Standard K.G.4
    • Students will model and create shapes using marshmallows and toothpicks. Standard K.G.5


    Step 2 - Planning Instruction


    Student Background Knowledge

    • Prior to this lesson, students will need to have an understanding of 2D shapes and their names. Also, you will have already introduced the concept of 3D shapes and their names however, in this lesson you will review what has been taught previously by showing them the video (linked in the lesson) "2D vs 3D Shapes!" by Mr. B's Brain it is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 . or reading the picture book, “Shapes Everywhere” by Cecilia Minden.

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    • To accomodate for Diverse Learners, show examples of 2D and 3D shapes to students before sorting objects from the classroom.You will use the foam 3D shapes (usually provided with Kindergarten Math curriculum) as well as shape cut outs of the 2D shapes that are taught in Kindergarten (link to possible cutouts included. Copy and cut out on colored cardstock).
    • You will review the names of the shapes (square, circle, triangle, rectangle, hexagon, cone, cylinder, cube,
      sphere, pyramid) as you show them the examples to activate backgound knowledge. 
    • You can introduce them to 2 new vocabulary words by explaining what each means and show them examples of what they are (deep, flat).
    • Use objects (when sorting) from around the classroom that students are familiar with to activate personalization.
    • You may also want to break this lesson up and do it in 2 days instead of 1.

    Extension: Students may play this game on . 2D and 3D Shapes by Amy Martin it is is licensed under CC BY 4.0 .


    Step 3 - Instruction


    Instructional Procedure:

    1. Read “Shapes Everywhere” by Cecilia Minden to review flat and solid shapes. While reading, occasionally have students show their understanding in different ways, (ie. “Touch your nose if this is a sphere” when pointing to pictures in the book). Explain the vocabulary word "deep" and how it relates to solid shapes.

    2. Play the Youtube video "2D vs. 3D Shapes! Mr. B's Brain - Ep. 2: 2D and 3D Shapes". by Mr. B's Brain it is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0  in the link below.

    3. Have volunteers help sort the shapes (items that you have found around the classroom) into the appropriate areas on the chart that is included in the files below (It would be best if you made your own sign on a poster board so it is easier for the students to read. I only made one on a sheet to show you what the chart should look like). Remember to apply the strategies for Diverse Learners listed in the section above.

    4. As a group, discuss differences and similarities between the 2D shapes and the 3D shapes, drawing special attention to the square and a cube and triangle and pyramid.
                  a. Ask: “What do you notice that is the same about the square and the cube/ triangle and pyramid?”
                  b. “What is different about the cube and the square/ triangle and pyramid?
                  c. Why can we use the word “deep” to describe solid shapes?

    5. Explain that they are going to build a square using marshmallows as the corners (vertices) and toothpicks as the sides. Tell them they can think and figure out how that might work.

    6. After they have made a square, then tell them they need to make a cube. Show students the foam cube to help them think how the shapes are the same and different, and what they need to do the same and do differently to make a cube. When each student has shown you the square and cube, have them start over and make first a triangle and then a pyramid. 

    7. Assess understanding of 2D and 3D by watching the Youtube video "2D or 3D Shapes: Under the Sea Math Brain Break".  by Move and Groove Math It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 . You may also choose to give them the assessment sorting page provided. Both of these resources will be provided in the Assessment portion below.

    You may also choose to use this GIMKIT game (I also listed it under extensions, but it would make a great assessment as well). . 2D and 3D Shapes by Amy Martin it is is licensed under CC BY 4.0 .


    Step 4 - Assessments



    • Before the lesson, ask questions to accertain student understanding of what a 2D and 3D shape is and the names of the shapes. This will be a pre-assessment.
    • During the lesson, you will be asking questions of similarities and differences of 2D and 3D shapes to guage understanding.
    • Play the youtube video: "2D or 3D Shapes: Under the Sea Math Brain Break"  by Move and Groove Math It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (The picture used in the Title Image comes from this resource). This is a fun game that asks students to identify if a shape is 2D or 3D.  This will be a formative assessment.
    • You will observe students designing their 2D square and triangle and 3D cube and pyramid as a summative assessement. Make note of those that are struggling with making the different shapes and need extra help or instruction.
    • Give students the summative assessment (from the file attached), "2D or 3D Sort Assessment" worksheet. Make note of who completed the sort correctly and who did not.
    • Play the GimKit game on this link, you may choose to do this whole group, small group or individually. 2D and 3D Shapes by Amy Martin is licensed under CC BY 4.0. You may choose to do this as a formative or summative assessement.

    Rubric for Summative Assessment (Designing 2D and 3D shapes):

    Correctly models 2D square1 pt
    Correctly models 3D cube1 pt
    Correctly models 2D triangle1 pt
    Correctly models 3D pyramid1 pt
    Total Points: 4 

    Rubric for Summative Assessment (2d or 3D Sort):

    Correctly identifies and sorts 2D shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon).1 point for each shape5 pts
    Correctly identifies and sorts 3D shapes (sphere, cube, pyramid, cylinder, cone, rectangular prism)1 point for each shape6 pts
    Total Points: 11 

    Rubric for Formative/Summative GimKit game

    Correctly labels pictures as 2D or 3D1 pt. for each3 pts
    Correctly identifies a 2D shape1 pt. for each2 pts
    Correctly identifies a 3D shape1 pt. for each2 pts
    Correctly names 2D shapes: (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon).1 pt. for each5 pts
    Correctly names 3D shapes: (sphere, cube, pyramid, cylinder, cone, rectangular prism)1 pt. for each5 pts
    Correctly identifies number of sides in 2D shapes1 pt. for each3 pts
    Correctly identifies faces and curves of shapes1 pt. for each5 pts
    Total Points: 25