KS1 Maths - Shape detectives

KS1 Maths - Shape detectives

Learning Objective: Angles

2D and 3D shapes


Various sizes and shapes of blocks, paper, pencils, sunshine!

Pictures of black rectangles, triangle, squares.


Take the children outside and choose one of the blocks. You could start off the activity by choosing a particular shape and place it on the ground with the sunlight shining on to it to see what shadow it makes. Ask children what shape they think the shadow will be and why. Give them time to talk to a partner before discussing it as a whole class. You could repeat this once more with a different shape so that the group understands what is happening.


Divide the class into groups on the playground and give each group a cube, a pyramid, cuboid and cone and the shadow shape pictures. Ask them to lay a piece of paper in front of a chalk drawn line, and ask them to decide what shapes will make which shadows. Model the following questions:

What shape is this shadow?

How might that help us to find a 3D shape that made it?

Is there only one possible shape?

What could the shadow of this shape look like?

Can you explain why?

Ask the children to draw around the shadows of the blocks to compare their answers against the cards.


As a class, share solutions and draw attention to those where more than one shape is possible. Are the children certain they have all the possibilities? Experiment again with clear blocks and see if there are any additional shapes that appear!

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