Games are an effective way to help children learn about shapes. Games can be used to review concepts that have already been taught, to extend students' knowledge about shapes and to give them hands-on experience working with shapes. Use these game ideas to help your students become familiar with the names and properties of two- and three-dimensional shapes.
You can make matching and memory games to help students learn different concepts about two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. You can ask younger students to match two shapes that are exactly the same, or have them match the same shape in different sizes. Students can match the shape to its name or to something that is that shape in real life--a cone to a party hat, for instance. Older students can match a three-dimensional shape to its two-dimensional footprint.
I Spy is especially appealing to younger students. Instead of playing with colors, play with shapes. Say "I spy a square" and let the students guess. If they can't find it, add clues about its color and size. This is a good way to informally assess your students’ knowledge about shapes, too. I Spy can be played whenever you have a few extra minutes in the lunch line or after the kids are packed up to go home.
Guess My Shape
Let your students make up clues and have a partner guess the shape. This game can be used with both two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. One student gives a clue, such as "My shape has three angles." Then the other student guesses. If he guesses correctly, they switch roles. If he is wrong, his partner gives him another clue.
Games with Geoboards
Geoboards provide many opportunities to review two-dimensional shapes. To teach symmetry, make a shape and have the students copy it onto their geoboards. Tell them to make sure that their shape is the same as yours. You can also call out the name of a shape and have the students make it on their geoboards. Then let some of the students share what they made. The rest of the class can give thumbs up, if it is the correct shape. Your students can also play these games in groups of two.
Games with Solid Figures
Use wooden classroom building blocks or sets of three-dimensional figures to play a sorting game. Have one student choose a few blocks to sort together; her partner has to guess the rule that makes the shapes go together. She might place two cones and a cylinder together and her rule would they all have at least one face that is a circle. She might choose some cubes and rectangular prisms of different sizes and her rule would be that they all have six faces.
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