Short Blocks

Maths Year 3 Summer Shape (A)

Each unit has everything you need to teach a set of related skills and concepts.

Unit 1 Line symmetry; name/sort 2-D shapes (suggested as 3 days)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Watch a short BBC action clip about line symmetry. Establish a definition for a line of symmetry. Place 2-D shapes in centre of the class, along with long thin strips of paper. Choose a child to pretend to karate chop a shape to find the line(s) of symmetry, placing a strip of paper to show it. Do all of these shapes have a line of symmetry?
Group Activities
-- Fold a picture along a line of symmetry; complete symmetrical pictures.
-- Children draw one half of a picture for a partner to complete symmetrically. Begin to explore shapes with two lines of symmetry.

Day 2 Teaching
Show and carefully describe a square, modelling appropriate vocabulary. Note that it is a polygon. Show and define regular polygons, e.g. with a pentagon, hexagon and octagon. Children choose and describe a shape for a partner to guess. Swap and repeat. Record key vocabulary. Show, define and name irregular shapes.
Group Activities
-- Sort 2-D shapes in Venn diagrams according to children’s criteria.

Day 3 Teaching
What words can we use to name and describe 2-D shapes? Which have ‘square corners’? Remind children that these are called right angles. Draw more shapes, children describe them to a partner. Sort shapes using a Venn diagram.
Group Activities
Use the ‘Don’t make a triangle’ in-depth problem-solving investigation below as today’s group activity.
Or, use these activities:
-- Children sort 2-D shapes into a Venn diagram according to two ‘secret’ criteria, with one shape placed as an ‘odd one out’. The rest of the group try to guess the sorting criteria and the odd one out.

You Will Need

  • Finding lines of symmetry from
  • Paper and mirror
  • Selection of large 2-D shapes: most with lines of symmetry; some without
  • Long straight thin strips of paper
  • ‘Folding houses 1 and 2’ (see resources)
  • Small pieces of paper, scissors and a timer
  • Selection of 2-D shapes (regular and irregular)
  • ‘Pentagons, hexagons and octagons’ (see resources)
  • ‘Shapes to sort’ sheet on A3 paper (see resources)
  • 2 hoops, roughly A3 size (e.g. made of wire/string)
  • Sticky notes and PE hoops
  • ITP: Tell the Time

Mental/Oral Maths Starters

Day 1
Find lines of symmetry (pre-requisite skills).

Day 2
2-D shapes (pre-requisite skills).

Suggested for Day 3
Telling the time (simmering skills).


Day 1
Draw lines of symmetry on shapes and complete symmetrical drawings.

Day 2
Apply knowledge of shape properties to select and describe an odd one out.

Day 3
Draw shapes in four different Venn diagrams, according to their properties.

Mastery: Reasoning and Problem-Solving

  • Draw a 2-D shape with at least 1 curved side and 2 lines of symmetry.
  • How many lines of symmetry in a regular pentagon?
  • Can you draw a…
    -- 4-sided shape with exactly 2 right angles?
    -- Hexagon with every side a different length?
    -- Regular octagon?
  • Draw a ring around any regular polygons (see download).

In-depth Investigation: Don’t Make a Triangle
Game for 2 where strategy and identifying triangles are both crucial.

Extra Support

Transformations on a Pegboard
Explore the properties of 2-D shapes using an interactive pegboard. Transformations on a Pegboard from

Unit 2 Identify, describe and sort 3-D shapes (suggested as 3 days)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Hold up a cube. How many edges, vertices and faces does it have? Children feedback. Introduce the word polyhedron. Explain that it is a solid shape with flat faces and no curved faces. Hide a 3-D shape (a cube, cuboid, cylinder, sphere, cone or pyramid) in a feely bag. A succession of children describes the shape to their classmates. Discuss which shape it could/ couldn’t be from their clues.
Group Activities
-- Name and describe the shape of packaging. Use to make a display.
-- List properties of given 3-D shapes, then sort.

Day 2 Teaching
Draw a labelled Carroll diagram. Ask a child to pick a 3-D shape from a box and show it. What’s the name of this shape? Where should it go on the diagram? Children discuss properties and feedback. Talk children through the criteria that fit. Place/ draw the shape in. Repeat with other shapes.
Group Activities
-- Sort 3-D shapes in a Carroll diagram.
-- Children guess headings in a Carroll diagram as you sort shapes.

Day 3 Teaching
Show an Egyptian pyramid. Here is a smaller version of the shape… Pass several square-based pyramids round class. Children share descriptions; draw out type and number of faces, numbers of vertices (corners) and edges. Draw a table to record this and fill it in. Look at (but don’t describe in detail) other pyramids.
Group Activities
-- Whole class investigation: Make pyramids with different shaped bases. Count faces, vertices and edges; discuss patterns; make generalisations.

You Will Need

  • Selection of 3-D shapes - cube, cuboid, cylinder, sphere, cone and pyramid and feely bag
  • Selection of packaging in as many different shapes as possible
  • Sticky notes, hoops, flipchart and pens
  • Selection of at least six 3-D shapes including a triangular-based pyramid (tetrahedron), a square-based pyramid and a cube
  • Large sheet of paper, scissors and tape
  • Several different square-based pyramids, pyramids with differently-shaped bases
  • ‘Nets of pyramids’ sheets (see resources)
  • Net for a square-based pyramid
  • ‘Pyramid properties’ (see resources)

Mental/Oral Maths Starters

Day 1
Naming 3-D shapes (pre-requisite skills).

Suggested for Day 2
Number bonds to 10 and 20 (simmering skills).

Day 3
Describing 3-D shapes (pre-requisite skills).


Day 1
Name and describe faces of 3-D shapes.

Day 2
Sort 3-D shapes into Carroll diagrams.

Day 3
Fill in missing information about faces, vertices and edges of prisms. Look for and describe patterns.

Mastery: Reasoning and Problem-Solving

  • What shape could I be describing?
    It has 6 faces…
    It has 12 edges…
    4 edges are twice the length of the other 8 edges.
  • True or false?
    All cubes have eight vertices
    A pyramid always has a square base
    A cylinder has 3 faces.
    There is a shape with just 1 face
    A cone has 1 circular face
  • Tick the polyhedrons:
    -- sphere
    -- cube
    -- cone
    -- triangle based pyramid
    -- cuboid
    -- cylinder

In-depth Investigation
Use the group activity on Day 3 as the in-depth activity for this unit.

Extra Support

Solid Specials
Exploring the relationship between 2-D and 3-D shapes