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Topic

Three
Dimensional
Shapes
(3D Solids)

LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this topic, you should be able to:
1.

Discuss the importance of geometry in solving daily life problems;

2.

Explain why the teaching of geometry should be introduced at


primary school level;

3.

List out childrens levels of understanding and learning geometry;


and

4.

Plan instructional strategies and teaching-learning activities


pertaining to geometry for kindergarten or pre-school and early
primary school children.

X INTRODUCTION
We live in the world of three dimensional (3D) shapes or solids. Everything
around us is in the form of solids such as the house we live in, the garden, the
trees, the cars, the fruits and the furniture we use. The round shape of an apple
we consume, the cylindrical shape of a pencil we use to write with and the
cubical shape of the thick books that we read are all examples of 3D shapes
around us. Most of the objects around us are three dimensional solids and occur
as either regular or irregular solids.

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SHAPES OF THE WORLD

Our world is made up of three dimensional (3D) shapes or solids with


dimensions of length, breadth (width) and thickness (depth). Solids have either
flat or curved surfaces. Cornflakes containers, classrooms, tables, cupboards and
matchboxes of cubical or cuboidal shapes are examples of solids with flat
surfaces. Other 3D solids of spherical shapes with curved surfaces include globes,
tennis balls, footballs, cones and cylinders whilst examples of 3D solids of oval
shapes are eggs or rugby balls.
We have to understand more about shapes around our world. Shapes and figures
change when looked at from different perspectives. As newborns open their eyes,
they would either be looking directly at their mothers faces as a plane or twodimensional (2D) shape or be directly exposed to 3D solids from the front view.
Slowly as they grow older, children will develop more advanced geometric
thinking and better understand the concept of geometry dealing with solids,
shapes and space applicable in the world they live in.

ACTIVITY 9.1
How do architects, engineers or designers interpret the graphic
drawings of 2D shapes in 3D models of houses, apartments, cars,
aeroplanes, ships and tankers? Discuss.

9.2

WHAT IS GEOMETRY?

Geometry is a branch of mathematics. It is the study of angles and shapes formed


by the relationship of lines, surfaces and solids in space as defined in Longmans
Dictionary.
Geometry is the exploration or investigation of space or discovery of patterns
and the relationship of shape, size and position or place in space. These are
observed in and derived from the immediate environment and the much wider
world, both natural and man-made.
The teaching of geometry is the development of experiences, skills and processes
for children to enable them to operate and understand their world or
environment better. It is thus essential that children learn about geometry and its
wide applications in real life well so as to be better equipped for the future.

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ACTIVITY 9.2
Think of some examples of real-life applications of geometry. Discuss the
importance of geometry in real life.

9.3

THE TEACHING OF GEOMETRY

The purpose of teaching geometry in primary and secondary schools is to help


children acquire knowledge, provide basic concepts of geometry and critical
geometric thinking that will improve the childrens ability to manipulate their 3D
environment. Since geometry is a branch of mathematics, it should be integrated
within the Mathematics syllabus for KBSR and KBSM. The teaching of geometry
should be done early at pre-school or primary level to be continued to secondary
school and higher level education.
The following are various reasons why geometry should be taught in schools:
(a)

Problem solving, the ability to solve daily life problems, is an important


skill to be mastered by all children. Learning mathematics and geometry
will prepare children to solve problems they face or are confronted with
every day in real life as stated by Tom Cooper (1986).

(b)

Solving geometry problems involves the manipulation of shapes and visual


imagery within a geometric framework. A strong foundation in Geometry
is thus necessary.

(c)

Learning about geometry and its applications to real life provides the basic
knowledge and geometric understanding vital for application in future
careers especially in the technical and vocational areas. Understanding
geometry is essential in the fields of navigation and exploration. Geometry
comprises important elements or essential knowledge for astronauts, pilots,
sea navigators, architects, engineers, mathematicians, carpenters, interior
decorators, models and fashion designers.

ACTIVITY 9.3
How do children learn geometry? Why should children learn geometry in
stages? Explain.

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THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF


GEOMETRY

When preparing experimental tasks or planning learning activities for young


children, teachers have to take special consideration of the childs intellectual
development as a frame of references.
According to Jean Piagets Model (1964-1967), a childs experience, living
environment and biological maturation will all influence his or her development
of geometric thinking and understanding, which are:
(a)

Level of development of mathematical abilities and understanding of


geometric concept; and

(b)

Level of conceptual development within geometry, and perception of


geometric properties and relationships within ones environment.
Children should thus be learning the concepts in stages.

9.4.1

The Learning of Geometry

Integration of Jean Piagets research, Van Hiele's Model and other research
findings will be the basis for designing instructional tasks and learning
experiences for young children. There is no one universal theory in designing the
teaching strategies or learning activities of geometry. Thomas Fox (2000)
suggested that instructional tasks should be in line with the childrens ability or
their level of reasoning. Hannibal (1999) suggested the importance of language,
vocabulary and description in helping childrens development of defining and
categorising features of shapes.

9.4.2

Van Hieles Model of Learning Geometry

Pierre van Hiele and Dina van Hiele-Degolf are two Dutch educators who
provided guidance in designing the instruction and curriculum of geometry. The
Van Hieles work which began in 1959 attracted a lot of attention especially in the
Soviet Union (Hoffer, 1983).
Today, the Van Hiele theory has become the most influential factor in designing
the curriculum for geometry worldwide. Pierre and Dina van Hiele believed that
children should learn geometry in five levels or stages. Learning activities must
be in progressive stages and avoid gaps resulting in confusion. Hypothesis

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showed that when children miss certain stages of these experiences, they would
face obstructions in their progress in understanding geometric concepts.
According to research by the Van Hieles, teachers or educators must provide
children in elementary or primary school with at least the first three stages in the
process of learning geometry. Instruction and learning activities should be well
planned according to the pupils level of geometric thought. Pupils will
successfully learn geometry when they are given the opportunity of a good
learning environment and the right experiences according to Andria Troutman et
al. (2003).
Van Hieles five levels of geometric thought are explained in Table 9.1:
Table 9.1: Van Hieles Five Levels of Geometric Thought
Level

Description

Level One 
Visualisation

This is the basic level where children recognise figures by looking at


their appearance. They are able to identify the shapes of two
dimensions or three dimensions through visualisation. Their ability
to identify shapes is basic depending on the sense of sight or feeling
without understanding the geometric properties of each figure.

Level Two 
Analysis

At this level, children are able to classify or group depending on the


characteristics of shapes or figures but they cannot visualise the
interrelationship between them.

Level Three 
Informal
Deduction

After undergoing the first two levels, visualisation and analysis,


children are able to establish or see interrelationships between
figures. They are able to derive relationships among figures
followed by simple proofs but not with complete understanding.

Level Four 
Deduction

Pupils mental thinking and geometric thinking develop


significantly. They can understand the significance of deduction, the
role of postulates, theorems and proofs. They are able to write
proofs with understanding.

Level Five 
Rigour

Pupils are now able to make abstract deductions and understand


how to work in axiomatic systems and even non-Euclidean
geometry can be understood at this level.

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TEACHING STRATEGIES OF GEOMETRY

Although we live in a three dimensional (3D) environment, learning about


geometry can be very difficult and confusing to young children. This topic will
provide kindergarten or preschool and year one primary school teachers the
overview of teaching geometry to children four to seven years of age.
Since there is no universal theory for the teaching of geometry, this topic will
guide and expose teachers to a few research findings and models as a knowledge
base in designing instructional teaching experiences and tasks for different age
groups.
Before designing or planning teaching and learning activities for young children,
teachers have to know their pupils background experiences, living environment
and their levels of thinking. The childrens intellectual development and their
levels of understanding will be the basis or the framework in designing
geometric thinking. Learning geometry is even more critical and very important
since it provides tools for critical thinking and analysis for problem solving in
real world situations.
The teaching of geometry to young children can be formal within the
mathematics classroom or during informal activities at the canteen, playground
or other outdoor venues. The introduction of simple geometry concepts can be
within their environment or the childs natural settings. It can be integrated while
they are playing in the playground, painting, acting in a drama, story-telling or
having a puppet show. Tom Cooper (1986) suggested the following teaching
approaches in line with the levels of Van Hieles Model. See Figure 9.1.

Figure 9.1: Approaches for teaching geometry

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KINDERGARTEN OR PRE-SCHOOL
GEOMETRY

Children at the early age of four to seven are unable to visualise shapes or solids.
To them, shapes or solids look alike or are similar and confusing. The spatial
concepts of solids and space are still undeveloped in young children of three,
four and five years of age. They cannot visualise shapes from different
perspectives or do not possess visual imagery as yet.
The way children learn about geometry is through exposure or appropriate
learning activities and experience. Teachers have to plan and choose appropriate
learning activities and suitable materials for relevant tasks to develop childrens
understanding of topology, simple Euclidean concepts and discovery of the
properties of shapes, solids and space. Andria Troutman (2003) suggested that
activities for kindergarten or preschool children should be of three kinds (see
Table 9.2):
Table 9.2: Andria Troutman's Three Kinds of Activities
for Kindergarten or Pre-school Children
Activity

Description

Refine topology
ideas

Childrens experience of indoor and outdoor activities will


enhance childrens understanding about topology, space and
directions. Such activities help children to use relative
prepositions and vocabulary such as enclosed boundary, inside,
outside, adjacent, beside, between, from above, under, bottom,
etc. Well-planned activities will help children to use suitable
prepositions, whether written or oral, to describe where the object
is located in space. These activities will facilitate the development
of childrens spatial sense.

Extended geometric
knowledge of
simple Euclidean
and topological
ideas

It is the study of shapes, size, direction, parallelism, perpendicular


lines and angles. They can visualise and differentiate between
shapes of triangles, rectangles, squares and trapeziums.

Discover properties
and relationships of
geometric figures

Children learn about three dimensional shapes by seeing or


through observation (visualisation). They will observe the
properties of the shape and study how they behave. Suitable
materials and appropriate activities such as matching, sorting,
fitting and altering shapes allow children to discover
relationships and properties of shapes.

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Children have not developed the ability to understand the conservation of


length, area, volume and proximity at this stage. Through appropriate drawing
and painting activities, children can refine many properties of geometric figures.
Drawings of young children show that mountains, trees, houses, and cars are
smaller than flowers or themselves. Spatial relationship among objects within
space is not established among young children yet but they begin to structure
and order in space.
During the process of a childs development, these three types of activities should
be integrated with the respective geometric concept and relevant manipulative
materials. Besides the commercially made or manufactured materials, it is
important that teachers make geometry materials that will provide for a better and
wider range of teaching aids to enhance their pupils understanding.

9.7

TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES


FOR PRE-SCHOOL GEOMETRY

A wide range of teaching and learning activities can be used for teaching
Geometry at pre-school level. Various learning outcomes to be achieved pertaining
to the learning of pre-school geometry include:
(a)

Identifying shapes using the surface area and exploring the relevant solids;

(b)

Matching and labelling each shape and solid through discovery;

(c)

Identifying similarities and differences between shapes and solids; and

(d)

Using the correct vocabulary and language to describe shapes and solids
during activities.

Some samples of teaching and learning activities suitable for teaching geometry
to pre-school children are described below.
Activity 1: Identifying and Matching Shapes and Solids
Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this activity, pupils should be able to:
(a)

Match and label each shape and solid given.

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Materials:
x

Sets of playing blocks as shown in Figure 9.2;

Pencils;

Sets of coloured pencils or crayons; and

A4 paper.

Procedure:
(i)

Divide the children into small groups of four to five pupils each.

(ii)

Each group will get a set of playing blocks, a set of coloured pencils or
crayons, a piece of A4 paper and pencils for each pupil.

(iii) Get pupils to match the surface area of the solids (blocks) to the respective
template or hole in the circular box (see Figure 9.2). Teacher will facilitate
the activities and give instructions to guide them while doing the activity.
This activity should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
(iv) Children in their groups will insert the blocks into the appropriate hole and
each pupil should be given the opportunity to explore and discover on their
own.

Figure 9.2: Set of playing blocks

(v)

When they are done, check the childrens findings. Point to one of the holes
and ask the pupils to choose or select the suitable or appropriate block from
the pile. See Figure 9.3 (a).

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Figure 9.3 (a): Set of shapes of templates and playing blocks

Check to confirm the pupils understanding. Repeat with other solids and
let them try to fit into the respective hole of the shapes. See Figure 9.3 (b).

Figure 9.3 (b): Set of playing blocks and shapes of templates

(vi) Guide pupils to label and identify the shapes and solids given using their
pencils and the piece of A4 paper.
Activity 2: Visualise Shapes and Solids
Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this activity, pupils should be able to:
(a)

Identify each shape and solid given; and

(b)

Use the correct vocabulary and language to describe the relationship


between 2D shapes and 3D solids.

Materials:
x

Set of trace blocks;

Set of solids;

A4 paper;

Pencils;

Coloured pencils/crayons; and

Names of shapes and solids (word cards).

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Procedure:
(i)

Let the children trace the surface area/shape of the blocks on the piece of
A4 paper, match and then compare with that on the circular box.
See Figure 9.4 (a).

Figure 9.4 (a): Set of playing blocks and shapes of surface area

(ii)

Introduce appropriate vocabulary and guide pupils to label each shape and
solid with the correct geometrical terms (word cards). Use relevant
language to describe the relationship between the 2D shapes and 3D solids.

(iii) Using arrows, match or pair the shapes with the correct solids. The colour
clue for respective pairs of shape and solid will guide the children to pair
them up. Ask them to look at the similarities between them. Encourage
them to use the right vocabulary and language in their descriptions.
See Figure 9.4 (b).

Figure 9.4 (b): Matching activity: Match the correct surface area to the playing block

(iv) Match the shape and solids by colouring the correct pairs with the same
colour. See Figure 9.4 (c).

Figure 9.4 (c): Matching activity: Colour the correct pairs

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At this level, introduce new vocabulary and use correct language to


describe each solid and the respective surface area. Encourage them to use
the new vocabulary and work in groups; only then can they freely
communicate with each other during the play activities.
Activity 3: Naming and Labelling of Solids
Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this activity, pupils should be able to:
(a)

Label each solid given.

Materials:
x

Models of 3D solids; and

Names of 3D solids.

Procedure:
(i)

Naming and labelling of solids:


Before this activity, teachers must introduce the correct geometrical terms
and vocabulary for every solid using flash cards or suitable teaching aids.
Teacher describes and explains to the young children simple procedures for
identifying and naming the solids. The features of solids will give the solid
its name and this can be used to identify them. See Figure 9.4 (d). Numbers
can be introduced to describe the geometric features. For instance, a cube
has 6 equal surfaces and a cuboid has 3 pairs of equal surfaces. Then, let
them discover the ideas and features for themselves. Check their
understanding using worksheets or handouts.

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Figure 9.4 (d): Matching activity: Match solid to name

(ii)

Naming of solids: Rearrange the letters (or spelling) to form the name.
Ask the children to rearrange the letters to form the names of the solids from
the flash cards. Each flash card bears a single solid and scrambled letters.
(See Figure 9.5).

Figure 9.5: Naming of solids

Activity 4: Relationship and Properties of Shapes and Solids


Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this activity, pupils should be able to:
(a)

Group given shapes and solids according to their similarities and differences.

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Materials:
x

Models of 3D solids; and

Cut-outs of 2D shapes.

Procedure:
(a)

Grouping shapes and solids according to their similarities and differences.


Promote group discussion:
Children in their groups will discuss similarities between different solids.
They will have to group the solids according to their similar properties and
how they behave. Each solid has certain properties of its own.
For example, circular prisms can roll, possess a circular surface, with or
without edges and do not have any vertices. Prisms have flat surfaces,
edges plus vertices and can stand still on their surfaces. Teachers will guide
children to classify them into different groups according to their similarities
and differences (See Table 9.3).
Allow children or give them time to discuss and improve their oral
communication, so they are able to use suitable language and vocabulary to
describe the relationship and properties of shapes and solids.
Table 9.3: Grouping Activity: 2D Shapes and 3D Solids
Types

2D
Shapes

3D
Solids

Circular/Oval
Cylinders

Triangular
Prisms

Quadrilateral
Prisms

Polygonal
Prisms

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TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES


FOR ELEMENTARY GEOMETRY

Some teaching and learning activities for elementary geometry are discussed
here.

9.8.1

Learning Areas for Elementary Geometry

Skills related to the learning of elementary geometry generally extend from what
is learnt in pre-school and include the following:
(a)

Naming, labelling and using the correct vocabulary for describing each 3D
solid;

(b)

Describing features or parts of solids including classifying and grouping


shapes according to similarities and differences; and

(c)

Ability to assemble and explain types of shapes used to build models and
relate models to solids in real life.

9.8.2

Elementary Geometry: Early Experience of


Space and Shape

With respect to the learning of elementary geometry, three levels of the Van
Hiele model discussed earlier are emphasised:
(a)

Level One (Visualisation)


Identifying 3D shapes by intuitive understanding of symmetry and
perspective. At this level, children are guided to identify geometric figures
through various activities that enable them to visualise shapes, name them,
use correct vocabulary and differentiate them from other shapes.

(b)

Level Two (Analysis)


Analysing the attributes of geometric figures and introducing simple
concepts of proximity, separation, direction, size, length, line, enclosure,
properties and spatial ideas.

(c)

Level Three (Informal Deduction)


Childrens ability to compare geometric figures covers visualising
similarities and differences, developing basic concepts on spatial ideas and

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simple Euclidean concepts as well as the transformation approach on


extended concepts of geometry.
Teachers have to develop effective and creative teaching materials to
enhance pupils learning and understanding of geometric concepts. Models
or manipulative teaching materials as illustrated below are required to
promote the mental reasoning mentioned above (See Figure 9.6).

Figure 9.6: Set of 3D models or manipulative

9.8.3

Cycle for Teaching Elementary Geometry

Figure 9.7 shows the cycle for teaching 3D solids.

Figure 9.7: Cycle for teaching elementary geometry

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Early Geometry Activities

In general, activities for learning early geometry at the primary level are mostly
extensions of pre-school activities and are concentrated on achieving the
following learning outcomes:
(a)

Identifying and naming solids;

(b)

Making skeletons and opaque solids from straw and play dough (coloured
plasticine);

(c)

Describing parts of solids; and

(d)

Building models of solids.

Some practical activities are described in the following section.


Activity 1: Naming of Solids
Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this activity, pupils should be able to:
(i)

Identify and name solids.

Materials:
x

Blocks of solids/3D shapes;

Pictures of solids/3D shapes;

Play dough (multi-coloured);

Chart; and

Sets of flash cards (Vocabulary/Name cards).

Procedure:
The following activities are suitable for group activities.
(i)

Identifying and naming solids:


This activity is in line with Level One (Visualisation) of the Van Hiele
model.
Teacher will give one flash card and a set of solids to every group and ask
the children to choose an appropriate solid from the pile. Then, get them to
stick the flash card on the board and display the chosen solid.

(ii)

Repeat the activity until all the solids have been identified and named.

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Each group will be given a chart as shown in Table 9.4 and a set of picture
cards of various solids; pupils have to match and name the appropriate
solids accordingly.
Table 9.4: Set of 3D Models or Manipulative

Cube

Cuboid

Tetrahedron

Pyramid

Cylinder

Cone

Sphere

At this level, children are guided to identify geometric figures through the
visualisation of 3D shapes.
(iv)

Identifying and naming each figure:


Encourage discussion among the children. Use correct vocabulary and
suitable language to describe the features and properties of solids. Guide
them to identify or differentiate the solids from the other shapes.

Activity 2: Analysing Similarities within a Group of Solids


Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this activity, pupils should be able to:
(a)

Identify the properties of groups of solids e.g. cubes, cuboids, pyramids,


cones, cylinders, spheres;

(b)

Make solids from play dough; and

(c)

Compare the differences within and between groups of solids such as


triangular and quadrilateral prisms, etc.

Materials:
x

Blocks of solids/3D shapes (cubes, cuboids, pyramids, cones, cylinders,


tetrahedrons, prisms, spheres);

Pictures of solids/3D shapes (cubes, cuboids, pyramids, cones, cylinders,


tetrahedrons, prisms, spheres);

Play dough (multi-coloured);

Chart;

Sets of flash cards;

Vocabulary (Name cards/word cards); and

Worksheet.

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Procedure:
(i)

Visualisation: (Properties of Solids)


Teacher guides pupils to visualise and explore the properties of a set of
solids one by one and record the properties in a chart.
Introduce appropriate vocabulary including face, edge, corner, etc. to
describe the properties of solids.
Repeat the steps for each solid in the set comprising cube, cuboid, pyramid,
tetrahedron, cone, cylinder and sphere. (See Table 9.5 for a more detailed
description of the procedure outlined in step (i)).
Table 9.5: Procedure for Step (a)
Level

Visualisation
of shapes or
figures

Teacher
1.

Teacher shows a cube

2.

Introduce appropriate
vocabulary to describe the
properties of a cube.

3.

Ask pupils to count and record


the number of faces, corners
and edges of a cube and write a
summary.

4.

Teacher shows a cuboid next


and repeats steps 2 and 3.

5.

Repeat the activity until all the


solids in the set have been
explored in sequence.
Note: Pictures of 3D solids can
be used in place of 3D models.

Pupils
1. Pick out a cube and other
similar solids out of the pile.
x same shape or size
x similar size
(bigger or smaller size)

2. Label the corner, face and edge


of the cube accordingly.
3. Record a summary of the
properties of the cube. E.g.:
x 6 flat faces
x 8 corners
x 12 edges
4. Pick out a cuboid and repeat
the steps above for the solid
chosen.
5. Repeat each step as above for
each solid displayed in
sequence.

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Learning experience: Making solids from play dough


Group activity:
Using 3D solids as samples, guide pupils to produce various solids as listed
below:
x

Cube;

Cuboid;

Triangular Prism;

Quadrilateral Prism;

Pyramid; and

Tetrahedron.

Guide pupils to explore the properties of each solid made.


(iii)

Comparing differences within and between groups of solids.


Using the solids made in Step (ii) or other models, guide pupils to compare
the similarities and differences within and between groups of solids.
Begin with comparing triangular prisms with quadrilateral prisms.
Ask pupils to record the properties of both solids by analysing the surface
area (2D shapes) and the respective 3D solids as in Table 9.6.

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Table 9.6: Comparison Chart


Triangular Prisms
2D
Shapes

3 sides
3 edges
3 corners

3D
Solids

5 flat surfaces
6 vertices

Quadrilateral Prisms
4 sides
4 edges
4 corners

6 flat surfaces
8 corners or
vertices
Sets of 3 pairs
(surfaces)
12 edges

(iv)

Repeat the above step and compare different groups of solids such as e.g.
cubes with cuboids, pyramids with tetrahedrons, etc.

(v)

Distribute worksheet to pupils.

Activity 3: Building Models and Nets of Solids from 2D Shapes


Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this activity, pupils should be able to:
(a)

Build models and nets of solids (cuboids and cubes) from 2D shapes.

Materials:
x Blocks of solids/3D shapes (e.g. cubes, cuboids, pyramids, cones, cylinders,
tetrahedrons, prisms, spheres);
x

Objects: pencil box;

Cardboard;

A4 paper (multi-coloured);

Pencils; and

Worksheet.

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Procedure:
(a)

Always guide young children on how to relate solids of three dimensions


(3D) to shapes of two dimensions (2D). The visualisation of cuboids can be
attained by using a pencil box to represent the cuboid. Let pupils rotate,
visualise and trace the shapes from different perspectives by looking at the
cuboid from different orientation or from different elevations i.e. top, front
and side, see Figure 9.8 (a).
Step 1: Visualisation

Figure 9.8 (a): Views of a cuboid from different perspectives

Step 2: Trace surfaces of a cuboid


(i)

Trace the surfaces of the cuboid from the top and bottom to get two
similar faces.

Cut the traced shapes and slide the two pieces over one another to
check if they are congruent and similar. See Figure 9.8 (b).

Figure 9.8 (b): Top and bottom views of the cuboid

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Trace the surfaces from the left and right sides of the cuboid.

Cut the traced shapes and slide the two pieces over one another to
check if they are congruent and similar. See Figure 9.8 (c).

Figure 9.8 (c): Left and right side views of the cuboid

(iii)

Trace the surfaces from the front and back elevation (looking from
the front and back/behind).

Cut the traced shapes and slide the two pieces over one another to see
if they are congruent and similar. See Figure 9.8 (d).

Figure 9.8 (d): Front and back views of the cuboid

Step 3: Match and relate the traced surfaces for geometric reasoning
Figure 9.8 (e) shows how to trace the surfaces of the cuboid.

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Figure 9.8 (e): Traced surfaces of the cuboid

Step 4: Attach the traced surfaces on to the cuboid/pencil box and make a
net of a cuboid
The cuboid/the pencil box has six surfaces (3 pairs of similar surfaces).
Refer to Figure 9.8 (f)).

Figure 9.8 (f): Net of the cuboid

(b)

Using the same procedure as in (a), produce nets of a cube like the ones
shown in Figure 9.9:

Figure 9.9: Nets for the cube

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Activity 4: Drawing 3D Solids


Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this activity, pupils should be able to:
(a)

Draw 3D solids with the help of essential tools like graph paper and GSP;
and

(b)

Identify the 3D solids drawn using GSP.

Materials:
x

PowerPoint slides (3D shapes: prisms);

Graph paper/square dot paper/isometric dot paper; and

Computer software, Geometers Sketchpad (GSP).

Procedure:
(a)

Identifying 3D shapes by intuitive understanding of symmetry and


perspective.
Let pupils look at some animated pictures of 3D solids from a PowerPoint
presentation (e.g. cubes, cuboids, triangular prisms, pyramids, tetrahedrons).
Have an open discussion about symmetry and perspective to guide pupils to
identify and name the 3D shapes shown in the slides.
The drawing of solids will be easier for young children with the help of
graph paper, square dot paper or isometric dot paper and computer
software, such as the Geometers Sketchpad (GSP). The GSP is often used
as a tool to draw regular and irregular prims of 3D solids. Figure 9.10
shows some examples of solids drawn using the GSP. Teach pupils how to
draw the figures one by one.

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207

Figure 9.10: Examples of regular and irregular prisms drawn using the GSP

(b)

Ask pupils to identify the 3D solids drawn.

Activity 5: Build Skeletons for 3D Solids


Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this activity, pupils should be able to:
(a)

Build skeletons for 3D solids (e.g. cubes, cuboids, pyramids, tetrahedrons,


triangular prisms); and

(b)

Make a summary of the properties for each skeleton of the 3D solids made.

Materials:
x

Play dough or plasticine; and

Drinking straws.

Procedure:
(i)

After the drawing of solids, a suitable follow-up activity will be the making
of skeletons of 3D shapes using drinking straws and play dough as
illustrated in Figure 9.11. All properties of solids (corners/vertices, edges
and flat surfaces) will be discussed here.

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Figure 9.11: Examples of skeletons of 3D solids

(ii)

Ask pupils to name each of the skeletons of 3D solids and make a summary
of the properties for all the skeletons constructed.

Activity 6: Building Opaque Models of Solids


Learning Outcomes:
By the end of this activity, pupils should be able to:
(a)

Make solids from play dough;

(b)

Build models using a combination of various solids; and

(c)

Describe parts of solids.

Materials:
x

Play dough or plasticine (multi-coloured);

3D blocks or solids (wooden/plastic);

Picture card chart of 3D solids (regular and irregular prisms, non-prisms);


and

Flash cards (name cards/word cards).

Procedure:
(i)

Distribute some play dough or plasticine and a picture card chart/guide to


each group of pupils. Let pupils make models of 3D solids using play
dough or plasticine based on the picture card chart.

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209

(ii)

Using the 3D models constructed or ready-made 3D blocks (wooden/


plastic), make models like the ones displayed in Figure 9.12.

(iii)

Creative play: Allow pupils to indulge in free-play and make models of


their own using the play dough or plasticine.

Figure 9.12: Examples of opaque models of 3D shapes

(iv)

Ask pupils to label and describe the parts of the solids constructed using
appropriate vocabulary, language, name and word cards such as cube,
cuboid, triangular prism, vertex, edge, face, etc.

In this topic, the theory and approaches of learning geometry are highlighted.

The teaching and learning of geometry should be aligned to pupils levels of


thinking.

In planning instruction or teaching and learning activities, teachers have to


consider the childrens logical thinking, their levels or stages of learning
geometry, their biological maturation as well as their living environment.

A few research findings and models of teaching geometry are integrated


within this model as reference and as a basic framework for teachers when
designing instruction or teaching and learning activities.

During the earlier part of the topic, discussion focused on the importance of
learning geometry and the use of geometric concepts to solve real life
problems.

The concepts of geometry and spatial sense, incorporated with numerical


literacy, should be introduced to children at an early age.

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Teaching strategies of three dimensional (3D) shapes or solids for young


children are suggested under various sub-headings.

Examples of teaching and learning activities for geometry given in this topic
take into account the theory and childrens levels of thought, starting from
kindergarten or pre-school and extending to early primary school.

Apex

Polygon

Area

Polyhedron

Boundary

Prism

Capacity

Solid

Cone

Sphere

Corner

Symmetry

Cube

Tessellate

Cuboid

Tetrahedron

Cylinder

Three dimensional (3D)

Edge

Vertex

Oval

Volume

List three levels of teaching geometry for early primary or pre-school and suggest
a suitable learning activity for each level.

Pupils learn the concept of geometry while playing with and building models
using the three dimensional solids. Think of a strategy to teach Euclidean
Geometry to young children through play.

TOPIC 9

THREE DIMENSIONAL SHAPES (3D SOLIDS)

APPENDIX
WORKSHEET
1.

Draw lines to match each 3D shape with the correct description.

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