Building 3-D Shapes with Magnet Shapes

Area: Geometry and Spatial Sense
Skill: Shape Recognition and Properties
Key Targeted Strategies:
  • Encourage children to compose and decompose shapes
Foundational Strategies:
  • Modeling and using math language
  • Supporting conceptual understanding
  • Extending mathematical thinking

What to Look for in This Clip:

Composing shapes involves encouraging students to put together smaller shapes to make a larger shape. This is an important strategy because it gives children a chance to explore and see the relationship between different shapes, including how 2-dimensional shapes combine to make 3-dimensional shapes.

In this clip, the teacher encourages a child to explore the composition of a shape she's constructed, a pyramid. The teacher begins by asking the student what she made. When the child responds that she has made a house, the teacher asks a more targeted question, "What is the shape on the top?" When the student replies, "triangle," the teacher extends the student's thinking by highlighting that she has actually created a 3-dimensional shape saying, "Do you know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of a pyramid."

The teacher then encourages the student to compose another 3-dimensional shape using a 2-dimensional shapes by saying, "Can you use squares to build a cube?" As the clip ends, we see the student trying out the teacher's suggestion, as she is busy constructing a cube on the floor.

Throughout the exchange, the teacher uses math language related to shapes, including shape, triangle, pyramid, square, cube, and 3-D shape.