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Here you will learn about 3D shapes, including their names and properties and how to identify and classify 3D shapes.
Students will first learn about 3D shapes in 1 st grade with their work in geometry, identifying and classifying shapes by their properties. They expand their knowledge of 3D shapes as they progress through elementary and middle school.
3D shapes (threedimensional shapes) are solid shapes that have 3 dimensions: height, width and depth (all line segments).
Here are some familiar 3D shapes:
Cube  Cone  Pyramid
shape  Cylinder 

Polyhedra are 3D shapes made up of faces, edges and vertices as illustrated below.
Face
A flat 2D shape surrounded by edges and vertices.  

Edge
A straight line where two faces meet and connect two vertices  
Vertex
A point where two or more edges meet (like a corner) 
The shape in the table is a cube. It has 6 faces, 12 edges and 8 vertices.
3D shapes can be categorized in several ways. A 3D shape is either a polyhedra or a nonpolyhedra.
3D shapes can then be further categorized as shown in the table below. The properties of 3D shapes can help to classify them and recall their names.
Name of polyhedra  Properties of polyhedra 

Rectangular prism A rectangular prism can be described as a cuboid. Stepbystep guide: Rectangular prism 
● 6 faces

Triangular prism Stepbystep guide: Triangular prism 
● 5 faces

Square pyramid Stepbystep guide: Square Pyramid 
● 5 faces

Triangular pyramid (tetrahedron) Stepbystep guide: Triangular Pyramid 
● 4 faces

Name of nonpolyhedra  Properties of nonpolyhedra 

Sphere A sphere can be described simply as a ball. Stepbystep guide: Sphere shape 
● All dimensions (length, width 
Cylinder A cylinder can be described as ‘prismlike’ with a circular base. Stepbystep guide: Cylinder 
● 2 circular bases

Cone A cone can be described as ‘pyramidlike’ with a circular base. Stepbystep guide: Cone 
● 1 circular base

Stepbystep guide: 3D shape names
Stepbystep guide: Pyramid shape
Use this quiz to check your grade 1, 5 and 6 students’ understanding of 3D shape. 10+ questions with answers covering a range of 1st, 5th and 6th grade 3D shape topics to identify areas of strength and support!
DOWNLOAD FREEUse this quiz to check your grade 1, 5 and 6 students’ understanding of 3D shape. 10+ questions with answers covering a range of 1st, 5th and 6th grade 3D shape topics to identify areas of strength and support!
DOWNLOAD FREEYou can find the volume and surface area of 3D shapes.
The volume of a 3D shape is the amount of space there is inside the shape.
See also: Volume
Surface area is the total area occupied by the surface of a 3D shape.
To find the surface area of a prism, cylinder, or pyramid, it is often helpful to draw the net of the 3D shape, calculate the area of each face, and then add them together.
See also: Surface area
How does this relate to 1 st grade math?
In order to identify a 3D shape, you will:
What is the name of this 3D shape?
The given shape has 1 circular base, 1 curved side that meets at the 1 apex on the shape.
2Recall the definitions of the different 3D shapes and state which 3D shape the shape is.
Based on the characteristics of the given shape, the shape is a cone.
Edward is giving Nancy directions to draw a given 3D shape. Edward tells Nancy that the shape has a square base with 4 triangular faces, 8 edges and 5 vertices. What shape is Edward describing to Nancy?
State the characteristics of the given shape.
Edward tells Nancy that the shape has a square base with 4 triangular faces, 8 edges and 5 vertices.
Recall the definitions of the different 3D shapes and state which 3D shape the shape is.
Nancy recalls the shapes that she is familiar with that have a square base,
She now needs to look and see which have 4 triangular faces.
The rectangular prism and cube only have rectangular faces. These are not the shapes Edward was describing.
The triangular prism has 2 triangular faces and 3 square faces. This is not the shape Edward was describing.
The square pyramid has 1 square base and 4 triangular faces. It also has 8 edges and 5 vertices.
Edward was describing a square pyramid to Nancy.
Look at the image below and determine which 3D shape it is.
State the characteristics of the given shape.
The shape is a basketball, where all dimensions are the same. The center point will be equal from every point on the surface.
Recall the definitions of the different 3D shapes and state which 3D shape the shape is.
This shape is a sphere.
Look at the image below and determine which 3D shape it is.
State the characteristics of the given shape.
This shape has a square base with 4 triangular faces ( 2 showing) and has 5 vertices ( 4 showing).
Recall the definitions of the different 3D shapes and state which 3D shape the shape is.
This shape is a square pyramid.
In order to identify 3D shapes in a composite shape, you will:
Look at the composite shape and identify all 3D shapes.
Count the number of shapes that make up the composite shape.
There are two shapes in this composite shape.
Identify and state the number of each type of shape within the composite shape.
Shape 1 has 2 circular bases with a smooth, curved lateral face. Shape 1 is a cylinder.
Shape 2 has 6 rectangular faces that meet at vertices. Shape 2 is a rectangular prism.
Look at the composite shape and identify all 3D shapes.
Count the number of shapes that make up the composite shape.
There are \bf{7} shapes in this composite shape.
Identify and state the number of each type of shape within the composite shape.
Shapes 1, 2 and 4 have 6 rectangular faces and are rectangular prisms. Shapes 1 and 2 are also classified as cubes.
Shape 3 has two rectangular faces and 3 rectangular faces. Shape 3 is a triangular prism.
Shapes 5 and 6 have 2 circular bases with a smooth, curved lateral face. These shapes are cylinders
Shape 7 has 1 circular base, 1 curved surface and 1 vertex. Shape 7 is a cone.
1. What is the name of this 3D shape?
Pentagonal Pyramid
Pentagonal Prism
Pentagon
Irregular Prism
This 3D shape has congruent crosssectional areas, it is therefore a prism. The shape of the crosssection is a regular pentagon, so it is a pentagonal prism.
2. This is a square based pyramid. How many vertices does it have?
The base of the pyramid has 4 vertices as they are the corners of a square. The apex (the highest point of the shape) is another vertex, totaling 5 .
3. Which shape is a triangular prism?
A triangular prism has triangular faces, which these do not.
A triangular prism also has three rectangular faces, which this shape does not.
This shape is a triangular prism:
4. Which shape is a nonpolyhedron?
Nonpolyhedron shapes have at least one curved face, and these do not.
This shape is a nonpolyhedron:
5. How many cylinders are in the composite shape?
A cylinder is a nonpolydron shape with two circular bases and one curved face.
There is only 1 cylinder in this composite shape.
6. Which shape is a rectangular prism?
A rectangular prism is a 3D shape, and a parallelogram is not 3D.
A rectangular prism has 6 rectangular faces, but a cylinder has no rectangular faces and a square pyramid only has one.
This shape is a rectangular prism. It is also classified as a cube.
The main difference between 2D and 3D shapes lies in their dimensions. 2D shapes are flat and exist only on a plane, with length and width. They have no depth or thickness. 3D shapes have length, width, and height. They are solid, occupy space, and have a threedimensional structure.
To identify a 3D shape, you need to consider its properties. Look for features like faces (the flat surfaces), edges (the lines where two faces meet), and vertices (the points where edges meet). The number and arrangement of faces, edges, and vertices can help you determine the specific 3D shape.
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40 multiple choice questions and detailed answers to support test prep, created by US math experts covering a range of topics!