STEM Saturday: 2D Vs 3D Gum Drop Shapes

For this STEM Saturday activity, all you need is a bag of gumdrops and a box of toothpicks for some hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) structure. 

STEM Saturday: 2D Vs 3D Gum Drop Shapes

Just mentioning the words science and math can bring a lot of anxiety in some children. This may be because there is a lot of stigma surrounding the subjects. 

Like the ones that say math and science are never fun and always difficult. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth – science and math can be absolutely fun!

What better way to make it fun than by introducing candy to the mix – these gum drop shapes are sure to engage your learners. 

With this in mind, this article will be looking at 2D and 3D shapes you can make with gum drops. 

Let’s get started. 

Why Is Geometry Important?

Geometry is an area of mathematics that explores lines, points, space, and shapes. It is an important subject since the entire world is made up of spaces and shapes. 

In fact, the world is broken up into plane geometry, including flat shapes such as triangles, lines, and circles, as well as solid geometry consisting of solid shapes like cubes and spheres. 

Geometry helps us to understand spatial relationships. Here, through studying the shapes and sizes of everything in the world, you’re gaining a clear perception of position and space. 

In addition, it helps to comprehend the relationship and measurement of angles, lines, solids, and surfaces found all around us.

This helps the mind visualize new things with the new shapes with having learned. It brings together both sides of the brain: the technical and logic-driven side with the artistic and creative side. 

As such, it is an important subject to teach children, especially at a young age, so they can comprehend the objects around them. 

What Is The Difference Between 2D And 3D Shapes?

Any object that is drawn in two dimensions – particularly X and Y – is known as a 2D shape. 

On the other hand, when drawing shapes and the third dimension or direction enters – particularly in Z directions – are known as 3D shapes. 

2D and 3D shapes are drawn on the same plane, although, in different directions – causing a different appearance. As such, these shapes have unique uses and properties. 

When it comes to learning about 3D shapes, you’ll first have to understand 2D shapes. Essentially, 2D shapes are the base of 3D shapes. 

Before moving on to 3D shapes, learners will want to learn how to accumulate 2D tricks, otherwise drawing 3D shapes can be difficult. 

Here, the shapes don’t entirely matter, it is more about the planes which determine their dimensional feature. 

If you notice the differences between 3D and 2D structures, then you’ll notice the differences between their corresponding shapes. 

For instance, a square has 4 edges and 1 face, while a cube has 6 faces and 12 edges. 

One great way to understand these differences is by creating these shapes for yourself. This is where this activity comes into play. 

Below, we have outlined everything you need to get started when it comes to understanding 2D shapes and making 3D structures. 

Getting Started

If you’re looking for an activity that is free from technology, is sure to cure boredom, and is educational at the same time, then you’ll want to invest in some gumdrops and toothpicks. 

Here, all you need are simple supplies, a simple set-up, and simple fun to keep your children engaged while learning. 

One of the best ways to incorporate STEM (see also: STEM Saturday: Scented Hearts Experiment)into play is through building these 3D structures. To build these gumdrop structures, your child will be using science, engineering, and math skills. 

When it comes to preparing for this activity, you should start by printing out challenge cards using cardstock – this makes them extra durable – and then laminate them for next time. 

To separate the pieces, simply cut along the thin gray lines. 

Then, all you have to do is grab a box of toothpicks, a bag of gumdrops, and a Vis-a-vis marker – now you’re ready to start making some impressive buildings.  

Gumdrop STEM Structures

With this STEM pack, you’re provided with two different levels of difficulty.

Firstly, there is a batch of 2D shapes for younger children and a set of 3D shapes for anyone looking for a challenge. 

To begin this activity, you’ll want to start by giving your child the 2D card so they can analyze the characteristics of each shape. 

Then, it is time to build. Here, your child should aim to build one at a time and then count the number of vertices (corners) and sides it has. 

Once they have completed the first set, and are looking for a challenge, they can try out the second set of 3D shapes. 

The pictures on each card help your child to figure out each shape they are building. After plenty of trial and error, your child should be able to get the hang of it before long. 

Once done, they’ll proudly count each vertex and edge on the shape. 

Gumdrop Towers

Once your child has finished with the pack, they can let their imagination go wild and create anything their heart desires – for instance, a gumdrop tower. 

Whether you’re using marshmallows, jelly beans, gum drops, pool noodles, or anything else you can stick (see also: 4th Of July President Stick Puppets)some toothpicks into – building structures is a fun and engaging STEM activity that encourages problem-solving, motor skills, re-building, and evaluating. 

Final Thoughts

Science and math have never been more fun than incorporating candy into the mix! Here, your child uses toothpicks and gumdrops to create some impressive 2D and 3D shapes. 

Geometry is all around us, therefore, teaching your children about it is important. Hopefully, this guide has provided you with a fun gum drop activity to perform with your children. 

Suzy Anderson
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