Upside Down World

Created by M4YC Lesson Study Teams

Curriculum – Geometry and Spatial Sense

For students to sort, classify two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional figures by attributes; recognize symmetry; relate shapes to other shapes, designs, and to figures; and describe location using positional language.


Students and the teacher begin by sitting on the floor in a circle.


  • Teacher-prepared structures made out of unifix cubes – each structure should be increasing in difficulty
  • Unifix cubes – enough for all the students to use


  • Have students close their eyes and tell their classmates that they are going to build in their mind.
  • Tell students to take three blue unifix cubes, snap them together in a row and lay them on the ground.
    • Ask children to take one green cube and put it on top of the middle blue cube.
    • Tell students to keep that picture in their mind.
  • Ask students to open their eyes and show them three different possible structures based on the instructions you give.
    • Listen to students’ opinions about which one they believe to be the correct structure. Encourage discussion.


  • Tell students they are now going to imagine a world where everything is made out of unifix cubes!
  • Show children four structures or buildings that are in this imaginary world.
  • Tell students that one day someone pushes a red button and all the buildings turn upside down.
  • Show them how the structure looks when it is upside down.
  • Now it is their job to rebuild all of those buildings the right side up.
  • Each student gets the appropriate number and colour of unifix cubes.
  • When rebuilding the first building, ask one student to give instructions to the rest of the class about how to rebuild the building.
  • When students are finished rebuilding, ask them to compare their building to the original building to make sure they have built it correctly.
  • After students have the hang of it, put students in partners and have one partner give the instructions and the other partner building.
    • Have students sit back-to-back to focus on describing location using positional language.


  • Have students put their buildings right side up next to the original building.
  • Facilitate a discussion about which part of the building was easiest to explain and which parts were more difficult.

See Building in the Mind’s Eye for previous lesson.

See The Barrier Game for next lesson.