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        PreK-1, 13+

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        Math + Arts | Shapes into Sculptures

        In this lesson, students will identify 2- and 3-dimensional shapes as well as create shape drawings and sculptures.

        Lesson Summary

        There are three options for this lesson, depending on class needs and time available:

        1. Frame, Focus, and Reflection (view and discuss): students identify 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes.

        2. Short hands-on activity: scavenger shape hunt.

        3. Project (view and discuss): students will create shape drawings and 3-dimensional geometric refrigerator magnets.

        Time Allotment

        1. Frame, Focus, and Reflection (view and discuss): 1 class period

        2. Short hands-on activity: 1 class period

        3. Project: 2 class periods

        Learning Objectives


        I can understand that size does not affect the name of the shape.

        I can understand that how the object is turned does not mean that it is a different shape.

        I can identify 3-dimensional shapes as a solid.

        I can identify 2-dimensional shapes as lying in a plane and flat.

        I can describe similarities of various 2- and 3-dimensional shapes.

        I can analyze and compare 3-dimensional shapes, in different sizes, and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, parts, and other attributes.

        I can construct shapes from components.

        Arts and Humanities

        I can identify and draw 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes.

        I can recognize relationships (above, behind, etc.).

        I can identify and arrange geometric shapes to create a pattern.

        I can identify primary and secondary colors.

        Prep for Teachers

        This lesson focuses on shape, form, and color. In art, a 3-dimensional shape is called a form. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. The secondary colors are green, orange, and purple.


        Poster and/or examples of real world items with different 3-dimensional shapes

        Drawing paper, pencils, crayons

        Craft dough or air-dry clay If using air-dry clay, you will also need markers (or paint) and magnetic strips.

        NOTE: Air-dry clay allows for more design possibilities and makes a more permanent art project, but craft dough can be used if your budget does not allow for air-dry clay. Air-dry clay is available from school art suppliers or craft stores.

        Media Resources

        Everyday Math: Shape House

        Everyday Math: Shapes All Around Me

        Peg + Cat: Wizard Ramone’s Sphere

        Learning Activities

        Frame, Focus, and Reflection

        Ask, “What are shapes?” Name 2-dimensional shapes (triangle, circle, square, rectangle, hexagon) and introduce 3-dimensional shapes (cube, box, cone, and sphere) using actual objects or using a poster to show the difference between 2-D and 3-D shapes. Talk about the differences between them. Then, ask students to identify different real world objects that are 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional. (For example, circle: pepperoni pizza; sphere: globe or ball.) Have a scavenger hunt in the classroom for shapes.

        Ask students how they use math in their everyday lives. Guide them to think about counting, sharing things with friends in even amounts, or deciding how many cookies they would like to eat. Ask them how they think artists might use math when they create art.

        Short Activity

        Display a poster of 3-dimensional shapes and talk about each one and/or show real world examples. Explain that the next day they will do an art project using these shapes. Have them describe the attributes of each of the shapes. How many faces, corners and sides do they have? Once they understand the shapes, have students do a scavenger hunt around the room to find these shapes. They may work independently or in pairs. View and discuss the Looking at Art PowerPoint, asking students questions about the shapes, forms, and colors they see. Ask students to find primary and secondary colors in the classroom.

        Longer Project

        Step One: Remind students of the shapes they found the day before. Draw a circle, square, rectangle, and triangle on the board. Ask students to imagine what different things they could represent using a circle (such as a face, a pizza, a soccer ball, a ladybug, or the moon). Then talk about 3-dimensional figures such as cubes, boxes, spheres, and cones. Draw some of these on the board. Ask them what they might represent with a cube, box, sphere, cube, or cone.

        Step Two: Tell students that they are going to form 3-dimensional shapes (known as forms in art) from craft dough or air-dry clay just like the artist in the video cut fish shapes for her mural. They can even combine forms if they want. Guide students to create forms from craft dough or air-dry clay. Have students first form a sphere by rolling the clay/dough on the table. Talk about the sphere being round with no sides or faces.

        Have the students make another sphere and press with their finger/thumbs with both hands to form a cube. Then, have the students count the sides, faces, etc. Have them make a box that is not a cube.

        Guide students to form a cone. Again begin by rolling dough or clay into a ball. Then, have the students flatten two sides with their fingers. Then, have them roll the dough or clay, putting pressure on the bottom half of the dough or clay to form a cone. Ask students how many faces, sides, etc., that the cone has.

        Last, allow students to make several small forms. If they want, they can combine the forms by pressing them together to make a composite form. Set the forms aside to dry overnight on a piece of paper with their name on it so that you can keep up with each child’s work.

        Step Three: Have students add primary and/or secondary colors with markers or paint. They can try to make their 3-dimensional shapes look like something, e.g., a basketball or ice cream cone, or they can then decorate their shapes using solid colors or patterns (like stripes). Some students will be happy to color their shapes one solid color. When the decorations are complete, adhere magnetic strips to the back of the shapes. If you have a magnetic board in your classroom, you can allow the students to place their shapes into a pleasing arrangement. Be sure and have students put their initials on the back of their shapes. Ask each student to identify the form, attributes, and color of their piece. Ask them if they used primary or secondary colors or a combination. Ask if they made their form resemble something or used colors or a pattern.

        Formative Assessment

        What are the indicators of student progress toward or achievement of each learning target?

        Math Assessment Problems
        1. Frame, Focus, and Reflection-Students will be assessed informally through questioning throughout the class.

        2. Short hands-on activity-Students will be assessed as they identify different shapes as 2-dimensional/3- dimensional and which shapes are being identified.

        3. Project

        Distinguished: Students will correctly identify cone, sphere, box, and cube. Student will also be able to form each shape from clay or craft dough.

        Proficient: Student will correctly identify 3-dimensional shapes but may not form all correctly.

        Apprentice: Student will correctly identify three of the shapes and may or may not be able to form all correctly.

        Novice: Student will correctly identify less than three shapes and may or may not be able to form them correctly.

        Arts and Humanities
        1. Frame, Focus, and Reflection (view and discuss) – Teacher will monitor discussion for grade-appropriate understanding

        2. Short hands-on activity – Teacher will monitor scavenger hunt for grade-appropriate understanding

        3. Project

        Distinguished: Student creates one or more recognizable forms and adds color to make a picture, pattern, or design. Student can describe their work using appropriate term.

        Proficient: Student creates one or more recognizable forms and adds color. Student can describe their work using appropriate terms.

        Apprentice: Student creates one or more recognizable forms and adds color, but does not identify the shape(s) or colors used.

        Novice: Student is unable to create a recognizable form.


        Program Review

        Where does this fit in? How should you document it?

        This activity contributes to your school’s overall efforts in art programming in several areas, depending on whether you implement just the Frame, Focus, and Reflection portion or you implement the entire project.

        Curriculum and Instruction: Aligned and Rigorous Curriculum

        a) To what extent does the school ensure that the arts curriculum encompasses creating, performing, and responding and is fully aligned with the Kentucky Core Academic Standards?

        b) To what extent does the school ensure that the school’s curriculum provides opportunities for integration as natural cross-curricular connections are made between the arts and other content areas?

        c) To what extent does the school ensure that the arts curriculum includes the study of representative and exemplary works of dance, music, theater, and visual arts from a variety of artists, cultural traditions, and historical periods?

        Curriculum and Instruction: Instructional Strategies

        a) To what extent do teachers systematically incorporate all three components of arts study: creating, performing, and responding into the arts?

        b) To what extent do teachers provide models of exemplary artistic performances and products to enhance students’ understanding of an arts discipline and to develop their performance/production skills?

        c) To what extent do arts teachers provide for the development of artistic theory, skills, and techniques through the development of student performances or products that are relevant and developmentally appropriate for students?

        Curriculum and Instruction: Student Performance

        a) To what extent are students actively engaged in creating, performing, and responding to the arts?

        b) To what extent do students identify a purpose and generate original and varied art works or performances that are highly expressive with teacher guidance?

        Formative and Summative Assessment: Expectations for Student Learning

        To what extent do teachers utilize exemplar/models to encourage students to demonstrate characteristics of rigorous work in the appropriate art form in most instructional lessons/units?


        Lesson Creators: Lesa Gieringer, Amanda Varney, Melissa Roberts, and Judy Sizemore


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