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3D Shapes Topic Guide

3D shapes are solid shapes. Regular 3D shapes have names; for example, a 3D shape with 6 square faces is a cube.

3D shapes can be described and sorted by their properties. These properties make them suited for different uses. A sphere makes a good ball because it rolls and does not have any flat faces.

Teach your children about 3D shape using our handy topic guide!

Choose a section:
Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas

  • Ask children to identify which of these nets will create a cube, and which will not.
  • Match 3D shapes to their properties, with this printable resource.
  • This investigation from NRICH challenges children to visualise 3D shapes.
  • Sort 3D shapes according to their properties, using a Venn diagram.
  • Go on a shape hunt, looking for different 3D shapes. Take a device to photograph them.
  • Give young children lots of experience of handling and using different 3D shapes, by providing resources such as wooden blocks, Lego and loose parts for building.
  • Look at some different types of packaging, and sort them into 3D shapes. Make a list of reasons why each shape is a good choice for that packaging.
  • Set up a ramp, and investigate which 3D shapes roll down it, and which slide. Use this sheet to record the answers.
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Resources

  • Download our 3D Shapes Pack for a wide range of resources for teaching this topic.

The 3D Shapes Pack

3D Shape Facts

  • The D in 3D shape stands for Dimensional. The 3 dimensions are height, length and width.
  • All 3D shapes have at least one face. A face is a flat or curved surface.
  • Nearly all 3D shapes have edges, which is where two faces meet each other.
  • The corners of 3D shapes are called vertices. Just one is a vertex.
  • A regular 3D shape with 20 faces is known as an icosahedron.

Videos

Titch and Ted learn about 3D shapes

Titch and Ted learn about 3D shapes while they build sandcastles.

Running time: 3:36

Features of 3D shapes

This lesson teaches the features of 3D shapes.

Running time: 8:13

How to Draw 3D Shapes

This simple tutorial shows how to draw 3D shapes.

Running time: 5:24

Books

Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone

King Arthur has hidden his sword. Who will find it?

Euclid: The Man Who Invented Geometry

Learn about Euclid, an Ancient Greek who studied shapes.

Geometry, Measures & Statistics

Lots of questions to build understanding for older primary children.

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