Shape Composer (3D)

Composes shapes with anticipation, understanding what 3D shape will be produced with a composition of 2 or more other (simple, familiar) 3D shapes. Can produce arches (with vertical interior space), enclosures (with internal horizontal space), corners, and crosses systematically. Builds enclosures and arches several blocks. Later in this level, children add depth to make 3D structures, and they add roofs across structures multiple blocks high (but they may have no internal spaces).


You may see this:

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Other Examples:

  • A child makes a “zoo” by combining blocks lining the floor for elephants, walls around tigers, and arches for smaller animals to live in and on. 

Help your student become a(n) Shape Composer (3D)

Activities for this and higher levels often involve creative construction with blocks and other construction manipulatives, with the teacher noticing, describing, and encouraging types of 3D composition that are at the next level for children (challenging, but achievable). Asking questions (How will we build an arch between those towers?) or even putting up pictures of actual buildings or block buildings that illustrate that type of construct might motivate children to try that new way of composing 3D shapes. Copying each others' construction can be another helpful approach. 

Special Thanks To

Institute of Education Sciences
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through grant numbers R305K050157, R305A120813, R305A110188, and R305A150243. to the University of Denver. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.