How to Differentiate Between Shapes and Solids? - Down River Resources | Your Elementary Math Guide

How to Differentiate Between Shapes and Solids?

kindergarten geometry first grade geometry

Shapes are fun to teach in the math classroom. After all, anytime you look around, whether it be the classroom, your house, or the grocery store, shapes can found! Or can they? "Shape" is a common term usually used for both two-dimensional figures AND three-dimensional figures. Did you know that while this is common, it is a misnomer? 

Two-Dimensional Shapes and Three-Dimensional Solids are Found in the Real World

Two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional solids are a large part of the kindergarten, first, and second grade math curriculum.

The basics of geometry learned in these grades build the foundation for the upper grades. Students will apply this basic knowledge of shapes and solids as they make generalizations of their properties and attributes (mostly in third and fourth grades) and the volume of solids (which will new information in fifth grade.)

As we reflect on how important geometry is the math classroom...let's not forget how practical it is too! Geometry is EVERYWHERE. I was working on geometry resources while President Elect Trump was being inaugurated. From the markings on the streets and symbols of our government, to the emblems on the vehicles, geometry was jumping off the television screen. 

How Do We Differentiate Between "Shapes" and "Solids?"

Two-dimensional shapes are also referred to as plane shapes. These figures are flat. In geometry, a
 plane is a flat, infinite surface. It is a two-dimensional shape because they have an infinite length and width, but no thickness. (A line would be one-dimensional.) Basic shapes include circles, triangles, rectangles, and squares (TEKS K.A) 

kindergarten geometry first grade geometryFirst graders also learn rhombuses and hexagons (TEKS 1.6D,) while second graders learn polygons with 12 or fewer sides.

Three-dimensional solids are unlike the shapes as they have a third dimension or thickness.  Three-dimensional solids have width, depth, and height. Solids include cubes, cylinders, spheres, and cones (TEKS K.6B.) Solids can have flat surfaces or a faces. These faces are the two-dimensional component of a three-dimensional object (TEKS K.6C.) 

For example, a cube (imagine a tissue box) is composed of squares, which is the two-dimensional component of this three-dimensional shape. The squares are called faces as they are flat surfaces.

First graders and second graders also learn rectangular and triangular prisms (TEKS 1.6E & 2.8B.)

I hope this post inspired you to look at geometry from a different perspective.

How do you differentiate between shapes and solids in your classroom?

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