Using interactive games to help teach first grade students about three dimensional, or solid, shapes, gives them the opportunity to review shape names and attributes in an engaging way. Before playing the games with your class, ensure that they have been introduced to each of the shapes that will be included in your activities.
3D Shape Building
Invite pairs or small groups of students to race against each other to build their own three dimensional shapes. Provide each group of students with a specific geometric solid shape, such as a cube or pyramid, to construct. Give them an assortment of toothpicks and marshmallows or gum drops to use as the sides and corners of their assigned shape. The group that is able to construct their shape the fastest is the winner. For a variation of this game, give students paper cut-outs of two-dimensional shapes, such as six squares for a cube or a square and four triangles for a pyramid, and have them tape the pieces together to form a three dimensional shape.
3D Shape Scavenger Hunt
See how many three dimensional shapes students can find in your classroom or around the school by sending them on a scavenger hunt. Provide each child or group of children with a list of each type of shape they should find, and have them write down the name of each object they find. For example, they might find a book, a classroom door and an eraser in the shape of a rectangular prism. If you have access to several digital cameras, invite students to photograph their finds. When the scavenger hunt is over, invite students to share their shape discoveries. The student, or group, who has found the most unusual three dimensional shape wins.
3D Shape Riddles
Challenge your students to a riddle contest that focuses on the attributes of three dimensional shapes, and see if they can beat you at the game. Give clues such as "this shape rolls and has circles on each of its two ends" for a cylinder, or "this shape has four rectangular sides and two square sides" for a rectangular prism. For each shape that students guess correctly, they receive a point and for each shape they are unable to name, you receive a point. As students gain more confidence with the shapes, invite them to take turns asking the riddles.
3D Shape Memory Game
Prepare a tray full of three dimensional objects, such as an ice cream cone, a toilet paper tube and a marble. Place the tray out for students to observe for a set period of time. Once students have had the opportunity to look at all of the objects, take the tray away and ask them to recall which shapes were displayed. Another option for this game is to display several objects for each shape on the tray, ask students to recall how many items were on the tray for each shape and have them name the objects.
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