An Introduction To Volume

Linda James Woods Harold Washington Elementary School
9130 So. University Avenue
Chicago IL 60619
(312) 535-6225


This mini teach is designed for grades 3 to 5.

L To count volume in cubic units
L To multiply to find volume
L To estimate volume
L To write a multiplication sentence to find the volume
L To discover volume of different containers
L To make a cost analysis of different brands of popping corn
L To learn the definition of volume

Materials Needed:

L Connecting cubes or base ten blocks
L Rectangular containers similar in size
L Potting soil
L Cubic rulers
L Work sheets
L Three different brands of unpopped popping corn
L Air popcorn popper
L Bowls or bags for popcorn
L Calculators

Recommended Strategy:

Activity 1-Volume Measurement

Students should work in groups of four.
Place several rectangular containers similar in size on the table. Each
container should be numbered. Have one student put the containers in order of
total volume. Ask the class if it is correct. Each group should write down
the order they think the containers should be in. Write each group's answer on
board. Divide containers among groups to measure volume. The group that wins
gets the point or prize.

Each group will have one clear rectangular container. Have the students use
base ten blocks to estimate the volume of their container by making a model of
the container. Each group will then put their model inside the container to
check their estimation. The group which comes the closest to the correct volume
wins the prize.

Using these same clear containers, tell the students they will fill flower pots
with soil. Give each group a rectangular flower pot or box and a ruler. They
are to measure the flower pot/box to get the volume. They must write a number
sentence. Write each number sentence on the board. Each group will then use
soil to fill their flower pot to check measurement. The group which comes the
closest to the correct volume wins. You can give them seeds to plant and
observe the growth.

Activity 2-Volume Value

Have three different brands of popping corn available to the class. A large
range in prices (one economy, one moderately priced and one expensive) will give
the experiment more impact. Assign students to groups of three or four and ask
them to design an experiment that will determine which popping corn is the best
value by comparing the cost of eight ounces of unpopped corn with the volume of
the popped corn. Discuss each group's method with your class. Carry out the
experiments with the class. Students must show work and formulas they used.
They should answer the following questions: Is there a difference in brands?
If so, which brand is the best value? Why is this a better buy? Are there
other factors you want to consider besides price per unit? If so, what are

Performance Assessment:

L Students should use base ten blocks to design their own rectangular prism.
L They will make a drawing of the solid figure with accurately labeled
L They will state volume.


Students will be able to learn how to estimate volume using the phenomenological
approach as well as participate in a hands on activity to calculate volume.
Once skill is learned, students will be able to apply to real life situations.


Burton, Grace M., Hopkins, Martha H., Johnson, Howard C., Kaplan, Jerome D.,
Kennedy, Leonard M., and Schultz, Karen A.: Mathematics Plus: HBJ Teacher's
Edition Grade 4: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1992
Harcourt Brace and Company

Belsky, Nancy: Real Life Math: Frank Schaffer Publications, Inc., 1993.
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