Introduction to Volume: Origami Boxes

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Objective

Students will be able to collect data, look for patterns, and make predictions about the volume of similar rectangular prisms.

Big Idea

By building origami boxes and filling them with beans, students will see how the volume of each box grows as the dimensions of the paper increase.

Launch Origami Boxes

5 minutes

I launch Origami Boxes by clarifying my expectations for group roles and group norms and highlighting the notion that multiple intelligences are necessary for this task.  I tell students that their goal is to answer to be able to answer the main question of the day, which is,

"How does the volume of the box change as the size of the paper increases?"  

After I show students Launch Origami Boxes, I send Resource Managers to get the necessary materials and the Origami Boxes Resource Card students will need for the lesson.

Origami Box Work Time

80 minutes

While students work, I like to take observation notes on the kinds of strategies students are using--I use these notes to track how groups are approaching the problem, but also to take note of which groups might be resources to others by sharing their ideas (MP1MP3).

Some of the most common approaches I have seen for collecting data on the number of beans that will fill the four given boxes include:

  • Finding the average volume of a bean (divide the volume of a box by the number of beans that fit in that box); similarly, determining the number of beans that will fill one cubic centimeter (MP2, MP6)
  • Making a layer of beans and estimating the number of beans that will fill the box (MP4).
  • Filling a box halfway or one-third of the way, then using proportional reasoning (MP2).

Some of the most common approaches I have seen for determining the dimensions of the box made from a 20x20 and 30x30 cm square include:

  • Looking for patterns in how the dimensions of the box increase (MP2)
  • Looking for a scale factor between the dimensions of the paper and the dimensions of the square (MP2)
  • Unfolding a paper to determine the relationship between the length, width, and height of the box and the dimensions of the square (45-45-90 special right triangle!) (MP7)

Depending on how groups are working, I may interrupt them to have Recorder/Reporters share out one or two strategies, insights, or questions so that others can offer help or commentary.

During this time, I also remind students of the requirements of the Stand Alone poster (see Origami Boxes Task Card) and encourage them to begin working on this after they have checked in with me about their strategies and predictions (see Origami Box Poster Sample).