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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Foil fun

Adapted from NZ Maths unit Foil Fun

Adaptions for ESOL students: Christine Jones


Year: 3-6

Level: 2

Duration: 1 week (This unit may take longer for students learning in their second language. Be prepared for extra days.)

Achievement objectives 

Geometry Level 2:

  • Make name and describe, using their own language and the language of geometry, everyday shapes and objects.

Learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • explore and describe faces, edges, and corners of 2D and 3D objects
  • make, name and describe polygons and other plane shapes.

Language learning focus

Focus on building vocabulary and mathematical literacy

Students will:

  • learn key vocabulary and revise vocabulary learnt in Level 1 Shapes
  • learn to use mathematical language to describe 2D and 3D shapes
  • recycle this new language as often as possible.

How to achieve the language learning outcomes:

  • focus on KeyWords (Word 45KB) , pre-teach the language needed to describe the shapes
  • recycle the new vocabulary as often as possible
  • model the new language repeatedly
  • check that student s are confident with the vocabulary at each level before proceeding to the next.

Teacher background reading

Overview of the unit

 In this unit students will be having hands-on experiences with three-dimensional solid shapes. They will investigate the features of solid shapes and learn the names for them. They will be introduced to making nets for 3D shapes.

A description of the mathematics explored in the unit

This unit explores basic solid objects by allowing the children to play with them in a structured way. The end product of the exploration is the construction of nets. All of the activities here will strengthen the children's concepts of 3D objects and their attributes, as well as the relevant vocabulary. This knowledge will be an invaluable basis for work at Levels 3 and 4, where more subtle definitions of shape are used ( Te Whanau Taparau - The Polygon Family).


  • solid shapes (cubes, rectangular prisms, triangular prisms, and cylinders)
  • paper
  • card
  • foil
  • scissors
  • cards with descriptions of shapes for matching, some cards with some description words missing, cards with names of parts of shapes such as corner, edge, face, 
  • Blu-Tack

Teaching sequence

Learning task 1

Learning task 2

Learning task 3

Learning task 4

Figure It Out links

Some links from the Figure It Out series which you may find useful are:

  • Geometry, Level 2-3, Shapes in Life, p. 1
  • Geometry, Level 2-3, Post It, p. 2
  • Geometry, Level 2-3, Boxes of Tricks, p. 8
  • Geometry, Level 2-3, Roll Over, p. 9
  • Problem Solving, Level 2-3, Problem Bits Two, (Bit 2), p. 22
  • Gala, Level 2-3, Making Boxes, p. 6

Published on: 09 Jan 2018