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National Curriculum: Geometry - Properties of Shapes - Year 3 - Activities

Created on 23 October 2013 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 10 March 2014 by ncetm_administrator


Programme of study statements Activities
draw 2-D shapes and make 3-D shapes using modelling materials; recognise 3-D shapes in different orientations and describe them      
recognise that angles are a property of shape or a description of a turn      
identify right angles, recognise that two right angles make a half-turn, three make three quarters of a turn and four a complete turn; identify whether angles are greater than or less than a right angle      
identify horizontal and vertical lines and pairs of perpendicular and parallel lines      

Activity set A

You could ask the children to make a repeating pattern by drawing squares or equilateral triangles in different orientations.

Ask the children to look at pictures in magazines and books and identify and draw the 2D shapes that they can see.

You could give the children card and a polyhedron, for example a cube or a cuboid. Ask the children to make their shape using the card. It is interesting to observe the children as they do this. Some children may draw around each face, cut them out and stick the pieces together. Others might draw around several faces side by side so beginning to make a net. These methods produce useful discussion. For example, if they have drawn this for a cube:

You could discuss what they could have done to make a closed cube (add another square to one of the four exterior squares).

You could give each child a piece of plasticine and ask them to make a sphere. Discuss how they do this. Once they have a sphere talk about its properties: one curved surface, no edges, no vertices. It might be worth pointing out that an edge occurs when two faces meet and a vertex occurs when three or more edges meet. Discuss what a sphere can do and where one can be seen in real life. Next, ask the children to turn their sphere into a cube. What do they need to do? Flatten the curved surface to make flat faces. Recap the properties of a cube, including the shape of the faces and the lines of symmetry in each one. Where would they see one in real life? Follow this process for a cuboid and then a square based pyramid. When they have the pyramid, ask them to visualise what it would look like opened up and draw what they see. Most children will draw this:

You could ask them to cut their drawing out and put it together to make a pyramid. As this is made from a sketch it might not fit exactly. Discuss what the children would need to do to make it more accurate. Agree that the square base must be square and the triangles must be the same size. You could ask them to draw an accurate net and then make the shape. You could repeat this for a cube.

Activity set B

The children need to recognise that angles can be found where the sides of a 2D shape meet. You could ask the children to draw an irregular shape on a piece of paper. Once they have done this ask them to identify the angles according to whether they are acute, right, obtuse or greater than a straight line.

You could ask them to identify angles in paintings, such as, Kandinsky’s Composition VII which can be found in The Art of Mathematics in issue 9 of the Primary Magazine.

You might like to try the activity from Nrich ‘More Transformation on a Pegboard’ which asks the children to make triangles with different angles.

The children also need to recognise that angles are a description of a turn (dynamic angles). When the children are familiar with what a right angle looks like, you could ask them to stand and make a turn of the same size. Repeat this for half a turn and point out that this is equivalent to two quarter turns or a straight line. Repeat again for three and four quarter (whole) turns.

‘How Safe are You?’ from Nrich asks the children to explore the angles of turn needed to open a safe.

Activity set C

Children need to identify whether angles are greater than or less than a right angle and name these as acute of obtuse. You could ask the children to draw different acute and obtuse angles and give their drawings to a friend to label with the correct vocabulary. They could also draw stick men with joints such as elbows, knees and ankles positioned to show acute, right and obtuse angles.

You could follow the suggestions for the painting ‘Ballet’ by Laura Knight in The Art of Mathematics in issue 56 of the Primary Magazine.

You might like to explore ‘Right Angle Challenge’ from Nrich which asks the children to explore right angles using sticks.

Activity set D

As well as angles the artist Kandinsky’s Composition VII is a great painting to explore perpendicular and parallel lines.

Another good painting for this is Mondrian’s Komposition which can be found in The Art of Mathematics in issue 11 of the Primary Magazine.

After exploring these paintings and asking the children to identify all the perpendicular and parallel lines that they can, you could ask them to make their own versions of the paintings. Great for a classroom display!


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