What are the names of 2D and 3D shapes? Children are taught the names of different 2D (two-dimensional) and 3D (three-dimensional) shapes throughout primary school.

They will learn that 2D shapes are flat shapes, whereas 3D shapes have 3 dimensions (length, depth and width).

Here are the 2D shapes that children are expected to know:

These are the 3D shapes they should know:

What are children expected to know about 2D and 3D shapes in KS2?

In Year 3 children should be comfortable drawing 2D shapes like the ones above. Teachers will also introduce them to 3D shapes, this might include making 3D shapes. They will also be introduced to angles and taught how many right angles make a half, three-quarter and full turn. This might be taught by asking children to stand up and turn themselves a certain number of right angles.

In Year 4 teachers will ask children to identify obtuse angles (angles between 90˚ and 180˚) and acute angles (less than 90˚). This is also when children will be required to identify lines of symmetry in 2D shapes. They will be taught about quadrilaterals (4 sided 2D shapes) and compare them to the properties of triangles.

Teachers will go on to introduce reflex angles (between 180˚ and 360˚) in Year 5, asking children to compare them to obtuse and acute angles. Children will also be asked to draw angles using a protractor, they might be given questions asking them to find missing angles of basic shapes. Teachers will expect children to recognise 3D shapes from 2D drawings and they will also be taught the difference between regular and irregular polygons.

In Year 6 children will be introduced to making nets of 3D shapes and will learn about parallel and perpendicular edges. Teachers will show children the different parts of a circle, such as the diameter, circumference and radius, which might lead on to calculating the area of a circle.

How to help children with 2D and 3D shapes?

When first teaching children about 3D shapes, it can be helpful to get them to name the shapes of certain items in the house to help them visualise what a 3D shape is. For example, a cereal box is a cuboid, a tennis ball is a sphere and a dice is a cube. This will also help children see that shapes have different dimensions and angles.

How does Learning Street help children with 2D and 3D shapes?

Learning Street courses help children to identify and understand 2D and 3D shapes in a structured way through our courses. We introduce these shapes and then extend learning as we go.

Unlike books, our courses regularly revise work so that knowledge becomes firmly embedded and secure.

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