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What are the names of 2D and 3D shapes?

What are the names of 2D and 3D shapes?
We explain what the different 2D and 3D shapes are, when primary-school children are taught to name them and sort shapes according to their properties and when they learn to identify and draw their own nets of 3D shapes.

What are 2D and 3D shapes?

Throughout their time at primary school, children will be taught about various 2D (two-dimensional) and 3D (three-dimensional) shapes. 

The first thing they need to learn is the difference between 2D and 3D shapes. Teachers will often talk about the fact that 2D shapes are 'flat' and 3D shapes are not. Children are expected to be able to name these shapes, and also discuss the properties of these shapes.

2D shapes


3D shapes

SphereSquare-based pyramid
CylinderTriangular prism
Pentagonal pyramidHexagonal prism

2D and 3D shapes in KS1

In Year 1, children need to be able to recognise and name:

  • 2D shapes including rectangles, squares, circle and triangles
  • 3D shapes including cubes, cuboids, pyramids and spheres
  • sort, make and describe common 2D and 3D shapes

In Year 2 chidren need to be able to:


2D and 3D shapes in KS2

In Year 3, children need to:

  • draw 2D shapes and make 3D shapes
  • identify right angles and know that two make a half-turn, three make a three-quarter turn and four a complete turn
  • identify horizontal and vertical lines and pairs of perpendicular and parallel lines

In Year 4, children need to:

In Year 5, children need to:

Children who are in Year 6 need to:

  • classify 2D and 3D shapes by talking about parallel and perpendicular edges and faces
  • draw 2D shapes using given dimensions and angles
  • recognise, describe and build simple 3D shapes, including making nets
  • find unknown angles in triangles, quadrilaterals and regular polygons
  • illustrate and name parts of circles, including radius, diameter and circumference, and know that diameter is twice the radius

Other 2D and 3D shape terms used in KS2

Equilateral triangle: A triangle with 3 equal sides and 3 equal angles.Isosceles triangle: A triangle with 2 equal sides.
Scalene triangle: A triangle with 3 sides that are all unequal.Right-angled triangle: A triangle that has a right angle.
Quadrilateral: A four-sided shape.Rhombus: A quadrilateral with both pairs or opposite sides parallel and all sides equal length. (Differs from a square in that angles are NOT 90˚).
Trapezium: A quadrilateral with one pair of parallel sides.Parallelogram: A quadrilateral with both pairs of opposite sides parallel and both pairs an equal length.
Kite: A quadrilateral with two pairs of sides that are same length. One pair of diagonally opposite sides is equal.Polygon: A polygon is a 2D shape with straight sides.