Learning More About Shapes

W (8) has been learning more about shapes, and of course the best way to learn about something new is through play and hands-on activities! This blog post highlights some of the ways I have taught my 8-year-old about shapes, in accordance with the National Curriculum.

Learning Objective (LO): Draw 2D shapes
LO: Recognise angles as a property of a shape or a description of a turn
LO: Identify horizontal and vertical lines, and pairs of perpendicular and parallel lines
LO: identify right angles, recognise that two right angles make a half-turn, three make a three quarters of a turn and four a complete turn; identify whether angles are greater than or less than a right angle
LO: make 3D shapes using modelling materials; recognise 3D shapes in different orientations and describe them

I like to split our learning topics into three sections: What do we know already? What should we know? What do we want to know/do? The third section allows for child-led learning to take place, and gives the children freedom to explore a topic in as much detail as they would like or use knowledge gained and apply it in different ways.

water color palette on white case
Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

What do we know already?

I like to build on knowledge we have already, this is part of an instructional technique called scaffolding. W enjoys taking on the role of ‘more knowledgeable peer’ when we cover topics that overlap, so I do this by asking him to draw and write the names of 2D and 3D shapes that he knows. He then is given the opportunity to present this information to B in whichever way he sees fit – either through a game he creates, or a task he designs and works through with him. It helps to reinforce his knowledge and secure B’s in a socio-constructive manner.

W (8) holding the model of a cube that he made

What should we know?

A lot, we need to know a lot more about shapes in Year 3 than we do in Year 1! There is a lot of new vocabulary to learn, more properties of shapes to understand and learning to confidently manipulate and apply knowledge to problems.

Khan Academy have a great video about shape vocabulary, though it does use the American name ‘trapezoid’ rather than the British name ‘trapezium’ , so I had to make sure W was aware of this difference and didn’t end up too confused. We played games that involved directing each other around the room using right angles (quarter turns) and half turns. And W followed the video below to make the model of a cube pictured above.

What do we want to know/do?

I don’t know what it is with 8 year old boys and tests of strength, but W only had one question he wanted to find the answer to:

  • What is the strongest shape in the world?

W’s idea was to create robotic shapes and get them to fight each other, but I had a much more inexpensive and effective way to find the answer, using the scientific method, but I’ll tell you all about that in our next blog, first I’d like you to make your predictions without looking it up!

Looking for the KS1 version? You can find it here…

One thought on “Learning More About Shapes

  1. Absolutely amazing und fascinating. I was never taught this at school and certainly not at this young an age. I’d never thought about the strength of a shape before either
    Very interesting to learn this even at a late stage in life. Well done. Keep going, guys.

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