Perspective Taking

Adapted from Moss, Bruce, Caswell, Flynn & Hawes (2016)
By Dr. Joan Moss

To print detailed lesson plans and materials, please click here

Curriculum – Geometry and Spatial Sense 

Identify different views (i.e., top, side, front) of three-dimensional figures built with interlocking cubes.



12 students and teacher begin by sitting on the floor in a circle with 14 sculptures in the centre.


Part 1

  • Teacher-prepared structures made out of single-coloured interlocking cubes
    • Double of 7 unique structures: 6 shapes (figure 1) and 1 distractor shape (figure 2)
    • Each sculpture is 4 cubes tall and vary in the number of total cubes
    • Each of the sculptures has a sticker that shows the front view
    • All except for the distractor sculpture, has a top view that looks like a cross (figure 3)
  • Each student gets a sheet with a pre-cut cross top view (Appendix A)

Part 2

  • Each child gets a sheet with all 6 front views shown (Appendix B)

Part 3

  • Each child gets a sculpture, 2x2cm grid paper (Appendix C) and marker

Part 4

  • Each child gets 8 single-coloured interlocking cubes, a sticker (ring binder reinforcer) to mark the front of the sculpture, 2x2cm grid paper, and a marker

For figures and appendices, download the lesson plan here.

Part 1: Introduction – Detecting Top Views

  • To begin the lesson, the teacher explains to the children that they are going to be judges in an architecture show.
  • The architects were invited to enter a sculpture that had a very specific top view.
  • The teacher shows the drawing of the top view (figure 3). (S)he explains that each one of them will be given a drawing of the top view and it will be their job to walk around and look down at the sculptures to make sure that all of them qualify for the architecture show (i.e. have the correct top view).
  • Before the children stand and walk around to view the top views, the teacher chooses one of the sculptures as an example, and makes sure that the children understand what a top view is and explains that there may be many different ways to have the same top view. (S)he also warns that there may be some sculptures that do not have the correct top view and she asks the children to decide which ones are wrong and to remember the colour of the disqualified sculpture.
  • Each child is given a picture of the top view.
  • After several minutes of children investigating and “being judges”, children are invited to sit back in a circle, and to let the teacher know the colour of the sculpture that should be disqualified.
  • Teacher then removes the disqualified sculptures, leaving the remaining 12 sculptures on the floor.
  • Teacher then distributes a sculpture to each child.

Part II: Matching the Sculptures with the Front-View Drawings

  • Children sitting in a circle with a sculpture and a sheet with all 6 front views shown.
  • Each child is given a sheet with all 6 front views shown.
  • The teacher explains to the children that the front views of the sculptures are marked by the stickers. Once the children have identified their sculpture with one of the 6 drawings, they are now invited to draw the side view.

Part III: Drawing the Side View

  • The teacher distributes 2x2cm grid paper and marker to each child and asks them to draw the side view of their sculpture.

Part IV: Build a Sculpture and Draw the 3 Different Views

  • Children working individually with 8 single coloured cubes, sticker, grid paper, and marker.
  • Children are now invited to build a sculpture of their choice with 8 single coloured cubes.
  • Once they have built their sculpture, they will be asked to put a sticker to put on the front side. Then they can draw and label each of the views (i.e. top, front, and side view) on a grid paper.

Extension (Family Math Night Idea) 
Geometry Creature Centre

  • Using 12 multi-link cubes create a creature. 
  • Once you have created your creature, draw the front, top, and side views onto grid paper. 
  • Label each view using Ojibwe Mathematical Vocabulary: Niigaanya’i (front); Apime’i (side); Agojiya’i (top)


Moss, J., Bruce, C. D., Caswell, B., Flynn, T., & Hawes, Z. (2016). Taking Shape: Activities to Develop Geometric and Spatial Thinking. Toronto: Pearson Canada.