Volume of Prisms - How are base area and volume of a prism related?

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Students will be able to calculate the volume of rectangular and triangular prisms.

Big Idea

Volume is related to area – what?! Students get to make connections to volume through the idea of “stacked” area.


10 minutes

Opener: As students enter the room, they will immediately pick up and begin working on the opener –Instructional Strategy - Process for openers. This method of working and going over the opener lends itself to allow students to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, which is mathematical practice 3

Learning Target: After completion of the opener, I will address the day’s learning targets to the students. In today’s lesson, the intended target is, “I can explain the concept of volume, and what I am actually finding” and “I can calculate the volume of rectangular and triangular prisms.” At this time, I will pass out the notes sheet, and give students 90 seconds to write down as much as they can recall about volume.


40 minutes

Volume of Prisms NotesThe instructional portion of the lesson will begin with a class discussion on volume.  I am interested in hearing what students can recall about volume, and hope to lead the discussion towards what you are actually looking for when you find volume, which is the space inside a figure.  Having an understanding of what the concept of volume is will be very helpful when working out mixed word problems on volume and surface area. 

Table Practice: For the example problems, as mentioned in the scaffolding section above, I am going to have students go through the steps of naming the figure, naming the shape of the base, identifying the height, etc, so that they get in a good habit of thinking through all of those things.  We will complete two example problems together. With student guidance, I will complete one more example problem, and then I will ask that the students work as much as they can on the next three without my assistance (MP 1).  As always, they are encouraged to work with their table groups.  If I find students really struggling, I will provide additional full class instruction; otherwise, I will help tables as needed, and take student volunteers to solve the problems at the board. 

Table Challenge: Finally, I will conduct a table challenge using the “Tiles” activity template in Smart Notebook.  I will call on tables using a stack of A-8 playing cards (I have a playing card taped to the center of every table so that tables know which number they are).  In the tiles activity, a prism is hidden behind each tile, and as they are revealed, students will work with their groups to arrive at answers.  I will have a random student draw a playing card from my stack to determine which group will solve each problem - students will need to pay close attention to precision in their calculations and labeling of their answers (MP 6).  Since this topic is new, I will allow tables to choose which of their members speaks/does the work out. 

Summarize + Homework

10 minutes

Write Your Own: To summarize the lesson, I will have students create a triangular prism of their own, and then find its volume.  The triangular prism is generally the one most students struggle with, so this activity will allow me to gauge student understanding of the lesson. 

HomeworkI will pass out the homework, and students will take the last couple minutes of class to look over the homework and ask any questions that they may have regarding the assignment. Philosophy on Homework