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Everyone Loves Block Play: Exploring 2D and 3D Shapes in Grade 1

Everyone loves block play. It’s true. Even adults will sit down and join in when there is building to be done.  Here we share the reflections from Richland’s Grade 1 teacher, Mrs. Brown, on her recent 2D and 3D shape exploration.The children are always excited to see the tiles and blocks out for exploration. On this occasion, I set these materials out so I could better understand what the children knew about 2D and 3D shapes. As soon as the children began to work with the materials, I discovered so much more than just their knowledge of shapes. As they built with the tiles and blocks, I was entertained by their rich storytelling.  I was impressed by their wonderful designs. They were experimenting also, by testing ideas and theories. Oh yes, and there was a lot of talk about shapes too.  What can we learn when we build with blocks? 

  • Building with blocks builds mathematicians who explore numbers, geometry, measurement, and early data management concepts such as grouping and sorting.
  • Building with blocks builds scientists who experiment with the concept of gravity.
  • Building with blocks builds leaders who can collaborate, using their communication skills to accomplish great things.
  • Building with blocks builds authors and artists who use their imaginations to create representations of their thoughts and ideas.
  • Building with blocks builds architects and designers who can plan, problem solve, and create.

What Does Recent Research Tell Us?

“Studies dating to the 1940s indicate that blocks help children absorb basic math concepts. One study published in 2001 tracked 37 children and found that those who had more sophisticated block play got better math grades and standardized test scores in high school. And a 2007 study by Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital, found that those with block experience scored significantly better on language acquisition tests.”

With Blocks, Educators Go Back to Basics (Kyle Spencer, New York Times, November, 2011)

1 Comment:

  • Marco C.

    It is great to see that the younger children will inquire so much. It is great because no matter what the subject is, the children will explore it until the last possible minute.

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