When teaching this unit in the past, I always used the traditional wooden solid figure shapes. They're very sturdy and are certainly helpful for illustrating the solid figures, but this year I acquired some new math manipulatives and they are fantastic! This one set is particularly fantastic:
I truly cannot say enough good things about this set. It was a little pricey, but they are SO worth it. Each figure is represented in a sturdy clear plastic shell that opens up. Inside there is a flexible plastic representation that unfolds to reveal the shapes on each surface of the figure. you can't tell from the photo, but the inner pieces are also quite durable.
My students predicted what the figure would like when opened (what shapes they thought they would see, and how many of each kind). It was an excellent higher-thinking activity.
I use a variety of solid figure manipulatives (scroll down for product information) as well as photos of real-world objects for each in my classroom. These materials were added to my classroom math center for independent exploration by students.
I also created a Solid Figure unit plan to use with my students. It's appropriate for Grades K-2 and is differentiated to accommodate students with varied ability levels.
The unit plan includes:2 and 3 column sorting activites
2 and 3 circle Venn diagram sorting
shapes vs. solid figures
roll, stack, and slide solid figure sorts
solid figure drawing lessons
4 pages of mix & match assessments
Purchase my Solid Figures Unit for Grades K-1-2 from
Here's a peek at just a few of the activities included:
Solid Figure Tracing to Determine Shapes on Flat Sides
Slide, Roll and Stack 3-Column Sorting Activity
(easy for Kindergarten students)
Venn Diagram for Figures that can Roll and Slide
Drawing Lessons: Cone (this one is pretty easy)
Drawing Lessons: Pyramid (this one is more difficult)
I use these products in my own classroom and I absolutely love them.
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