Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cubes, Cylinders, Cones, and Spears

Hi Friends,

We started our unit on shapes last week and finished it up today. We did a lot of exploring to learn about the different properties of 2-D and 3-D shapes. I actually taught this unit when I was student teaching a year ago and changed it up a bit for this year.


We started going over 2-D shapes, hitting one shape a day for the first week. Students created a graphic organizer whole group, writing different facts and properties they observed after each lesson. After learning and utilizing some new math vocabulary with my students, I combined shape identification with a review of addition into a fun "mud" pizza pie activity, aligning what we were learning in math to our current literacy theme - mud. Hey, sometimes it's a stretch but it got the kids riled up for Mud Day so whatever!

Food for taught:

If I were to do this activity again I would have a picture of each shape next to the words. I normally include visuals whenever possible but seemed to have dropped the sphere on this one. Anyways, it's really helpful for students that are English language learners as well as your lower students who still struggle with reading.

Having a set of counters for each student might also help with the extra long addition sentence. Most of my students did fine independently but my lower math students struggled to keep track when they had to add all the shapes together. I think giving them beans or counters would have helped them keep track of their counting by being able to create groups of ten, five, etc.

We ended the unit on solid figures. Last year I had created a great poem for each of the solid figures but I gave it to my master teacher and I couldn't find a draft of it anywhere on my computer. I hate when that happens! Above is another chart we completed whole group as we looked at the different properties of 3-D shapes. 

I love how difficult sphere is to say for 5 and 6 year-olds. Already anticipating the funny pronunciations I would receive, I broke the word down into /s/ and /fear/ for the kids and had them slide the sounds together. Of course that resulted in semi-anguished faces producing the word spear repeatedly. Adorable.

I also loved seeing the light bulbs go off as students realized their misconceptions. For example, many students thought the sphere would make a circle when traced until another student pointed out that "spears don't have any flat sides". It was tough to convince my kiddos that cubes don't roll since we often hear people say "roll the dice", but they quickly grasped onto the importance of certain attributes like whether or not the 3-D shape has any flat sides in determining whether or not it could stack, roll, and slide. We closed the unit by brainstorming real life examples of these shapes.

A fairly simple unit, but I know the kids got a lot out of it. Happy Thursday and as always, thanks for reading.

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