3D Shapes and Their Attributes

Understanding and identifying basic 3D shapes based on their attributes is a first grade, Common Core math skill: 1.GA.1.  Below we show two videos that demonstrate this standard. Then, we provide a breakdown of the specific steps in the videos to help you teach your class.

Prior Learnings

Your students should be familiar with the Kindergarten skill of naming regular shapes (i.e. squares, circles, triangles, etc.) and using formal and informal language to analyze and compare the shapes (K.G.1-3). They should also be familiar with making simple shapes to form larger shapes (K.G.6).

Future Learnings

This 1st grade skill of understanding halves and fourths will help your students when they move onto 2nd grade. By understanding halves and fourths, your students will be able to work with, draw, and analyze shapes. Your students will learn to identify more complex shapes: triangles, quadrilaterals, hexagons and cubes (2.G.1).

They will also be able to cut shapes into equal parts and deepen their understanding of “part and whole relationship,” explaining that a whole can be made up of parts (i.e. three thirds, four fourths, etc..) They will also learn that the “equal shares of identical wholes” do not need to the same shape to equal each other (2.G.2-3).

Common Core Standard: 1.GA.1 - Distinguish between defining attributes versus non-defining attributes

Students who understand this principle can:

  1. Understand and explain the difference between defining and non-defining attributes (i.e. number of sides/corners vs. color and size) 
  2. Identify basic 2D shapes: rectangles, squares, trapezoids, triangles, etc. 
  3. Identify basic 3D shapes: cubes, right circular cones, right circular cylinders, etc.
  4. Create a shape when given a list of defining attributes. 

2 Videos to Help You Teach Common Core Standard: 1.GA.1

Below we provide and breakdown two videos to help you teach your students this standard.

Video 1: Sing About 3D Shapes

This video sings about 3D shapes and discusses their attributes while showing many real life examples, helping students understand those shapes in the world. This video would be a fun and entertaining activity for your students.

 The 3D shapes they sing about in the video are spheres, cylinders, pyramids, cubes, and cones.

 Below is a list of the shapes and some of the real-world versions and attributes found in the song.

  1. Spheres
    a. Tennis balls, basketballs, planets, marbles, etc. 
    b. Spheres are perfectly round.
  2. Cylinders
    a. Soup cans, pens, toilet-paper rolls, etc.
    b. Cylinders have two two circular bases that are congruent, parallel faces.
  3. Pyramids
    a. Egyptian pyramids, closed umbrellas, house rooftops, etc.
    b. They have a base, apex, and faces. 
  4. Cubes
    a. Dice, blocks, ice cubes, some boxes, etc.
    b. Faces on a cube are all square.
  5. Cones
    a. Waffle cones, construction cones, castle turrets, etc.
    b. Cones have a circular base and a pointy vertex.

Video 2: Identifying Faces, Edges, and Vertices

The video begins by defining what a 3D shape is: a solid, figure, object, or shape that has three dimensions--length, width, and height. These shapes are classified based on their vertices, edges, and faces. 

  1. Face: A single, flat surface; usually 2D shapes, like a square.
  2. Edges: The lines where two faces meet.
  3. Vertices: The points where the edges meet. 

Next, the video provides exercises for your students to find and identify faces, edges, and vertices on different 3D shapes. 

The first example is of a rectangular prism. Boddle counts out the vertices, faces, and edges with your students. 

  1. Vertices: 8
  2. Faces: 6
  3. Edges: 12

Four additional 3D shapes are shown and students must identify the correct number of faces, edges, and vertices. The shapes are as follows: cube, sphere, square pyramid, and triangular prism.

Want more practice?

Give your students additional standards-aligned practice with Boddle Learning. Boddle includes questions related to Comparing and Measuring Lengths plus rewarding coins and games for your students to keep them engaged. Click here to sign up for Boddle Learning and create your first assignment today.

*Information on standards is gathered from The New Mexico Public Education Department's New Mexico Instructional Scope for Mathematics and the Common Core website.