Monday, October 3, 2011

Hunting for 3-D Shapes

My son has a good grasp on simple shapes like the circle, square, and rectangle. I wanted to kick things up a notch and introduce 3-D shapes to him. For a little help, I turned to Stuart J. Murphy's book Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes.

This book is part of the popular Math Start series. It's about a boy and his dog Comet who explore space and navigate their way home, despite encounters with numerous galactic obstacles. Captain Invincible uses 3-D shapes along the way to resolve the problems they face (for example, a cone filters poisonous gas by sucking it in through its circular base and sending out its point). I love the comic-book style of this book and how it pointed out each 3-D shape's form!

Books are great at teaching, but I've noticed what a powerful tool music can be in helping my son with memorization. I found this clever and very catchy video on YouTube and after listening ... okay, maybe there was a little dancing, too ... a few times, it was time to get on with our 3-D shapes hunt.

I gave my son four cards with the names and pictures of the 3-D shapes identified in the music video: the sphere, cylinder, cube, and cone. Then I asked him to explore the house and find two examples of each. Some shapes were easier than others to find. The cone was by far the hardest. I was surprised at how creative his 3-D shape finds were and excited to see him thinking about the differences between 3-D and 2-D (for example, why a circle was NOT a sphere).

I can tell that this song struck a chord with my son. The other night as we were waiting for our food at a local restaurant he started to sing the chorus (I hope the other patrons didn't mind a little lesson in geometry!). When he finished, we played the game "I Spy." The pendant lights were the shape of cones. The salt shakers were the shape of cylinders. 3-D shapes were everywhere!


  1. I just awarded you the I HEART YOUR BLOG award! Have a great week!
    Rowdy in First Grade

  2. Also my son likes Bakugans. You can find a bakugan bingo game here:

  3. Awesome ideas. I know my preschooler would love this and they really need to start learning their 3-D shapes :) Thanks!

  4. OK- your son's face in these pics is priceless!