Discussion in 'Early Years' started by cath1980, Jun 30, 2011.

1. cath1980

I know I probably shouldn't say this but I dislike shape with reception as I have never found anyth reaaly exciting to do with it and don't really think you can go very far with it. Can anyone help me out/change my mind?? Am being observed for a 25min group focus session with reasoning and dialogue as main focus. I have chosen shape as it is someth ch need more work on and because I thought that the properties of shape could involve lots of dialogue etc.... should I change my strand? Am really stuck as to how to make this interesting for children. Have just gone bk to work after maternity leave so very out of practice and really want to get things right and do someth the children will enjoy.

2. carrotcat

Hi this isn't my idea, I got if off this forum a few years ago but have used it a few times. Roughly it is this. You have a magic box, Inside the box you already have a sphere, cube, cuboid and pyramid but noone knows this. You have a circle, square rectangle and triangle to show the children who discuss the properties. One shape at a time you say you are going to do a magic trick and turn the 2D into a 3D. discuss what 3D the 2D could change into and why etc. Think of a magic spell say it together, pop the 2D shape in the box and bring out the 3D shape it has turned into. e.g put in a square and bring out a cube. You have to be sneaky about opening and closing the box so they don't see the shapes already inside. I usually say the magic hasn't worked and we need a different spell to build it all up. A the end I show them a flat balloon and introduce it as a2D shape becuase it is flat - how can I make it 3D? They usually say blow it up which I do. Make them promise not to scream then let it go and it whizzes round the classroom. Jazz it up how you like. I've got a magic wand and all sorts. The kids love it, I have done it for ofsted, HT and parents and they all liked it.

3. catherine7

But a 2D shape is only 2D if it has length and width and no thickness eg.a circle drawn on a piece of paper.A circle you can pick up,is technically a very flat cylinder!

4. debbiehep

I agree catherine7 - and I think that early years teachers should start shape correctly. I think it's quite an exciting notion that the difference is we can 'pick up' and hold the 3D shapes directly.
There are lots of lovely boxes and containers of all sorts of shapes to work with and describe.

5. debbiehep

I also think it is very interesting to draw a net in front of the children and then show how this can be cut out and turned into a 3D shape. How amazing is that when you think about it!!!

6. carrotcat

yes techninally is is Catherine and Debbie but guess what not one of my children put their hands up and said but miss that circle is a very squashed cylinder! The OP asked for a wow lesson for an obs and this has worked for me in the past. My children know the difference between 2D and 3D shapes. What about when they cut shapes out to make a repeating shape pattern or for assembling into a picture or they are matching shapes in a game- technically they are now 3d shapes because they have a thickness. My children have enjoyed making 3D shapes out of nets - we are making paper mache hot air balloons and are making the basket from a net at the moment. I spend my life looking for interesting boxes that are cylinders and cubes to add to my collection for investigation. Lighten up girls!

7. thumbshrew

Everything in the real world is 3D. "Square" is a description we use when talking about something 3D. A square is actually non-existent, except as a description Even a drawn square has depth, because a pencil line adds depth, and a piece of papre has depth. We use the idea of 3D and 2D to make distinctions between surfaces and bodies, and this is what children have to understand eventually. They really only understand it once they realise that a square is a face on a cube or cuboid. This is what the distnction between 2D and 3D amounts to, so teaching that 3D can be picked up and 2D can't is a specious as teaching that a 3D (albeit pretty flat) object is 2D.

Yes, a piece of paper has depth. But a shape drawn on a piece of paper doesn't exist on the other side of the paper. The thickness of the pencil is irrevelant since you might be describing the circle/square/whatever within the pencil line rather than the shape including the pencil line.

9. carrotcat

No, I don't patronise my children. My shape work starts from environmental shapes, letter shapes, shapes within natural objects, body shapes etc - that is where most of the fun comes from. The lesson I was describing assumes prior knowledge from the children - that they know that a cube has square faces etc.The "2D" shapes used in this lesson are there to prompt children to apply what they know when thinking about 3D shapes. So is everyone telling me that they never refer to a any shape as a circle, square etc unless it is a face on a 3D shape or the shape inside a drawn shape excluding the pencil line?! I don't believe you! A game that some of my children enjoy is a magnetic shape game. Their challenge is to use more than one shape to make a different shape so easy ones would be 2 semi circles will make a circle or 2 squares could make an oblong, we can talk about halves and quarters and changes and relationships etc. What name would you use for these shapes when listening and talking to the children? Tell them that they are not really circles and squares because they have a thickness of 2mm? Or that actually a square doesn't exist or that the circle is a very flat cylinder?

10. thumbshrew

I think a shape has to have a perimeter in order to be a shape.

11. thumbshrew

No, what I am saying is that the distinction between 2D and 3D shape gets over-emphasised. Children have to eventually understand that 2D links to area and 3D links to volume, but, at this stage, observation and description of shape does not have to be as pedantic as Debbie seems to want. I was pointing out that her definition, about being able to pick the shape up, is a problematic as the definition about the shape being flat, because when you pick up a cube you are picking up 6 squares. I think your activity is an interesting and engaging way of exploring shape, which would be very thought-provoking for children.

12. cath1980

Thanks for your imput Debbie. As an EY Advisor, what would you like to see in a lesson regardarding 2d and 3d shape. I have just returned to teaching after maternity leave and am lacking confidence in regards to my planning. As much as a debate seems to have started on this subject, I am still non the wiser as to what to do for my obs. I have a poorly baby screaming his head off at the moment so prob not thinking as straight as normal. Are you saying I should forget the plastic '2d' sets in sch and use paper cut outs? And that the magic blow up idea is too patronising? Really appreciate your help on this

13. thumbshrew

It is interesting that it has sparked off this debate. Don't you think that that shows there is not a consensus about the best approach? By the way, I think you will find that Debbie is not an EY advisor, and that her area of expertise is phonics, not maths, although I'm sure she will correct me if I am wrong. If you look through the EYFS Shapes, Space and Measures strand there is no mention of the best resources to use, in fact the suggeston of revealing a shape bit by bit to encourage children to identify it seems to suggest using a cut out shape, although you could do it with a drawn shape I suppose. I looked in the old numeracy strategy and it advises using shapes on fabric, showing 3D shapes and identifying the shapes of faces and using 'thin plastic shapes'. I think the best thing you could do is run it past your numeracy co-ordinator (no doubt, if this person was very anti using plastic flat shapes, they would have come round the classes and confiscated them all by now).

14. cath1980

think will stick with the plastic shape. Whole school is out of sync at mo as LA advisors have been in and told us that everything OFSTED deemed good is no longer good. Ev one worrying and loosing confidence so walking back into that has been a bit confusing

15. debbiehep

LOL! thumbie - I do get the impression that you have a problem with me and the things I say! Ah well...
Re the distinction between 2D and 3D - I am suggesting that it is not difficult when teaching them both together.
Teachers can use the flats to draw around to create the 2D shapes on paper for drawing-type activities - making pictures or patterns with the various shapes - squares, circles, triangles etc.
A way around the language is to talk about the faces of 3D shapes being 'circULAR' rather than a 'circle' - or 'triangULAR' rather than triangles.
It's easy to contrast all your 3D boxes, containers, cylinders with 2D shapes as drawn on paper - all sorts of arty paper - coloured, use chalks, pens, paints etc.
Re the 'Debbie is not an Early Years Advisor' thing - so what is the definition of an EYA?
We all advise one another for various issues and occasions - we are all therefore EYA.
Anyway, we have long since had a tradition on the Early Years Forum of criticising much of the advice for Early Years - so what's new there then?
I often suggest to people that they THINK FOR THEMSELVES and learn to evaluate what various advisors suggest - or what they read in various books.
All I do is chip into the threads now and again and say what I think. I am neither trying to be 'advisory' or otherwise - I'm just saying what I think or know.
What I am is often 'rebellious' so I don't necessarily 'follow' anyone else's advice. I do like to learn of other people's views however.
What quite bugs me in the early years domain is the sense that there are 'Early Years Advisors' who create a sort of 'mystique' about child development and how they know best about child development and others don't.
Bah humbug....

16. thumbshrew

And squarular, rather than square, perhaps!
I don't have problems with what you say, Debbie, but, like you, I like to explore the different points of view. That's what makes these discussions interesting and valuable, I'm sure you will agree. The OP gave me the impression she thought you were an appointed EYA. It seemed right to clarify. I am in full agreement with you about the mystification of the EYA. In my opinion they are there to disseminate the party line, and discourage original thinking.

17. debbiehep

"I am in full agreement with you about the mystification of the EYA. In my opinion they are there to disseminate the party line, and discourage original thinking."
Yay! It's good to agree sometimes!

18. debbiehep

"We shouldn't patronise our little children either."

By the way, when I wrote the above comment, it was not personal or aimed at anyone in particular. I just meant in general terms that children can take on board concepts that sometimes surprise us and we perhaps need to guard against deciding on their behalf what they can, or can't, understand.