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3-D Detective

Patti Huberty and Maggie Cowne
2nd grade
Colbert Elementary School
Madison County Schools


In this task, students will identify, describe, and illustrate plane and solid figures according to geometric properties.

Illustrative Task
  • Hand out one bag with one geometric solid in it to each group of three students.

  • Tell the Students to...

  • Peek at the geometric figure in their bag. Do not to let other tables/teams see the solid!
  • Write down as many of your figure’s attributes as you can. For example, number of edges, vertices, and angles. Then use those to write clues about your solid figure. For example, for a cube you could say… “Some of my faces are squares; It can be stacked but not rolled; None of my faces are circles; I have lots of right angles; etc…”
  • You can look back at the figure as many times as necessary.
  • When you and your partners are finished writing your 3-5 clues/descriptions, take turns reading your descriptions to each other. Make sure that the clues/descriptions are accurate.
  • We will take turns sharing our clues with the whole class. Other teams will try to guess what figure your team has in the bag and each team that guesses correctly will gain a point!
Encourage students to try to draw the figure that the other groups are describing.

**This lesson description is a variation to the 3-D Detective lesson that is written up in the frameworks. The above task has the students working in groups of 3 rather than individually with a partner as suggested in the original lesson. The change was made in order to encourage more math talk among the students.

GPS Addressed
M2G1. Students will describe and classify plane figures (triangles, square, rectangle, trapezoid, quadrilateral, pentagon, hexagon, and irregular polygonal shapes) according to the number of edges and vertices and the sizes of angles (right angle, obtuse, acute).

M2G2. Students will describe and classify solid geometric figures (prisms, cylinders, cones, and spheres) according to such things as the number of edges and vertices and the number and shape of faces and angles.
  1. Recognize the (plane) shapes of the faces of a geometric solid and count the number of faces of each type.

Video Information
Use these questions to guide your thinking about some of the important teacher ideas in the lesson featured in the video clip.
  1. What kinds of questions does the teacher ask to promote students’ problem solving?
  2. How is the teacher gauging students’ current understandings and building from those understandings?
  3. Consider the GPS standards listed with this video.
  4. What makes this lesson different from lessons you have taught on this topic?

Classroom Materials

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