One of our current math objectives is for kids to be able to recognize and name common 3D objects, and for them to be able to relate them to everyday objects. My kids are getting pretty good at this after a variety of activities. I want to share about what we did today.
About once a week, give or take, we do a class drawing activity. It sometimes focuses on things the kids want to learn to draw, but sometimes I choose the plan. You can read more about the drawing work we do by clicking here.
Today our work was about using pressure and shading to draw 3D objects. The kids were excited to learn how to make their drawings “pop off the page.” The steps to do this are pretty simple. I have a worksheet that I show to the kids, which has a shaded version of each object paired with an unshaded version. I encourage them to look carefully at the shaded version and to notice where the darkest and lightest areas are on the shape.
I then model how to choose a crayon (preferably not a shade of yellow), and use that one crayon to create all the shades on the object. I describe how to use heavy pressure, medium pressure, and light pressure to create the different shades. Once I model the coloring of all of the objects, I give each child their own worksheet and have them give it a try.
There are a few things that make this successful.
1. The kids use “special” crayons for this. I often give them brand new crayons before starting. They always use new crayons more carefully.
2. I take my time modeling. My kids are fascinated by watching me draw and color. I do not need to hurry. I want them to see exactly how I create the effect, but I also want them to see that I take my time.
3. When modeling, I continuously call attention to how I am looking at the example. This forces them to notice the model, and encourages them to use it for help.
This activity is very powerful for a variety of reasons. It definitely reinforces the kids’ understanding of 3D objects. It also provides great fine motor practice. Using appropriate grip is important, but kids also need practice in using appropriate pressure when writing and drawing. Finally, it encourages them to really control their hand movements when they are coloring. They are only successful when they use small, controlled hand and wrist coordination when shading.
If you want to give this a try with your kids, you can download the 3D Objects worksheet I use for free! Enjoy, and let me know how it goes!