Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Understanding the Concept of the Volume of a Rectangular Prism

Today I did an awesome activity with my 6th graders to help them to understand the concept of volume. Not only did the kids enjoy this lesson, but they also came up with some amazing answers to the questions that were asked. This was a great higher level thinking activity that I believe could be applied to other grades that you might teach.

(If you are interested in getting a copy of this lesson plan along with the prism template, please visit my TpT site to see if you may want to download it.)

First, students cut out the foldable pictured below. They are then instructed to tape the sides together to form a prism.

Next, I asked my students to tell me how many cubes they thought were inside of the whole prism. They got to work trying to figure this out. I had one student out of the 45 sixth graders that I teach come up with an excellent answer.

I had this student come up and explain this. He came to this conclusion with NO HELP from me! I love when this happens!!!!

The next question that I posed was what if two of these prisms were stacked up together? What would be the number of cubes inside? (Oh yeah, and I told the students they had to forget that the answer to the last question was 54 cubes and start the process from scratch.)

Here is one example of what they came up with. (We derived the formula together. As a class we determined that volume is equal to the area of the base (B) multiplied by the height.)

Then I had them situate the blocks so that they made a wider prism. Would they get the same volume? They had to prove it.

Here  is an example of what one student came up with.

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