Since we start this unit in the fall usually, I almost always launch this it by reading the book Pick a Circle, Gather Squares. It is an absolute favorite of ours! (This is an affiliate link.)
We spend 4 weeks learning all about 2D and 3D shapes in first grade. The first two weeks, we cover 2D shapes, and the second two weeks we cover 3D. On Monday of each week, we do a whole class lesson to introduce the topic. We go on a shape hunt around the room or school (depending on the class), build designs with partners, and use interactive notebooks.
Tuesday through Thursday, we visit a series of stations practicing working with shapes. Students sort shapes with outlines and with real life examples, identify shapes in pictures, make shapes with play dough, build with pattern blocks and foam or wood blocks, play games, and more.
This unit is perfect for the beginning of the school year since it is so hands on. The visual supports help students who aren't quite ready to read it all on their own yet. And the tasks are simple enough that even your neediest kids will be able to do them independently.
While students are in stations, I either work with a small group in a station or rotate around the room checking for understanding and supporting anyone who needs it. This time of day is a favorite for my students because they love the independence of it. Our math and science stations both are set up this way and we have zero behavior issues during this time because everyone is engaged!
At the end of math each day, we come together to share any Ah-ha's!, ideas, or questions that benefit the whole of the group. Students share out things they noticed or things they got clarity on as they were working. I love this part of our day because it really helps my students who need more support to develop their understanding and academic vocabulary.
On Fridays, we come together for another whole group activity. The first week, each student decorates a shape then describes it as if it's missing. We hang up our work in the hallway so that other classes can help us "find our shapes!" We also build shape robots and play shape Bingo. These Friday activities really become a celebration of our learning throughout the week.
This is such a fun unit and I know your students are going to love it. To learn more about it, you can check it out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store here. It's also included in the year long bundle for first grade that covers all of the common core math standards for first grade. Each week is set up like this unit and includes tons of hands on activities, games, task cards, explorations, and interactive notebook pages. You can explore the bundle here if you'd like.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you got some new ideas for your own classroom. Stay tuned for more great resources coming soon and have a wonderful week!