My principal is coming in to observe a math lesson soon, and I was wondering what I should do. We are studying plane shapes and solid figures right now. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Jenn, Using marshmallows to make square pyramids and cubes is a lot of fun. Call the toothpicks "edges" and the marshmallows "vertices" to get that vocabulary lesson in there. Honestly, my favorite lesson doesn't require "building" anything. It is simply showing children the difference between 1-D, 2-D shapes (plane shapes) and 3-D shapes (solid figures.) A 1-D shape is a line segment. It has length, but no height. It only has one dimension. Then one dimension is length. If you take one or more 1-D shape and connect them together in very specific ways, you get 2-D shapes. They have length and height. Length and height are the two dimensions each plane figure has. For example, put 4 line segments together with square corners, and you will have a rectangle. Put 4 line segments of equal length with square corners, and you have a square. We use line segments to "build" plane shapes on paper. Then we talk about 3-D shapes. To be 3-D, a figure must have length, height, and width (breadth). When you take 2-D shapes and put them together in very specific ways, you end up with 3-dimensional figures. It makes for a very nice lesson, and then children will understand that plane figure and 2-D figure are the same thing. It helps them understand that geometric solids are also called 3-D figures, and are also called space figures.

I've heard of a cute lesson involving food if you want to do something fun and different. The kids have to categorize the food by their shape. Marshmallows for cylinders, 3D doritos for cones, cheese cubes, cheese balls, etc. I don't have the lesson here at home but I bet you could think of more. I also bought a lot of magnetics from the dollar store and have kids build the 3D shapes.

I've had my kids divide into cooperative groups of four. Each group is assigned a solid figure and given their shape to examine . They draw a picture of their shape, and list its characteristics, including: the plane figure that creates its faces, number of edges and vertices. It's a good cooperative learning activity (which principals love to see) and gives the kids the opportunity to explore on their own. Of course, they would need to have prior knowledge before doing this.

I have these great manipulatives that I ordered from Learning resources. They are solid shapes that you can unfold to count the faces, vertices, and edges. Here is the item you might want to look at and see what you can do with it:http://www.learningresources.com/pr...=geometric+shapes&sortby=best&asc=true&page=1 Good luck!!!