Pupils need a lot of experience in exploring and discussing common 2D and 3D shapes. In the process, they should learn to recognise and name, at a minimum:
- rectangles (including squares), circles, and triangles
- cuboids (including cubes), cylinders, spheres and pyramids.
Pupils need to be able to recognise common shapes when they are presented in a variety of orientations and sizes and relative proportions, including large shapes outside the classroom (such as a rectangle marked on the playground or a circle on a netball court). Pupils should be able to describe, using informal language (for example, “long and thin”), the differences between non-similar examples of the same shapes, and recognise that these are still examples of the given shape.
Pupils should practise distinguishing a given named shape type from plausible distractors. These activities should involve exploring shapes (for example, shapes cut from card) rather than only looking at pictures.
Shape a: “This is not a triangle because it has 4 sides.”
Shape b or e: “This is a triangle because it has 3 straight sides.”
Shape c or d: “This is not a triangle because it has 6 sides.”
Shape f: “This is not a triangle because some sides are curved.”