In this unit students will be exploring solid figures and then move into understanding volume. Volume will be explained using addition and multiplication to build a deep understanding. A lot of time will be spent on building volume concepts before moving into the formula(l x w x h). There are several hands on tasks in which students will demonstrate their understanding of the concept of volume and the formula.
To begin this unit I do an activity that is necessarily related to math concepts but uses a cube. The activity uses a cube in which the bottom of the cube is unknown to the students. They have to use their knowledge of the other five sides of the cube in order to make an informed decision of what is on the bottom.
I have included a copy of two cubes that I use for this activity. I make one cube and display it on the document camera. I allow the students time in their groups to discuss the potential mystery side. After several minutes I ask students to share their ideas and the reasoning behind them.
In order to begin exploring solid figures I feel it is necessary to introduce/review some vocabulary associated with this concept. Students need to know edge, face, and vertex. I found a great Scholastic Study Jam that covers these words and relates it to real world objects. I show the Study Jam to the students.
To follow up the video I write the three vocabulary words on the whiteboard. As a whole group discussion I then ask students to provide definitions of these words. Then I invite the students to work with a partner and explore around the room using their new vocabulary.
Now that we are clear on the definitions of these words I would like you to work with a partner to identify parts of solid figures in our classroom. You and your partner need to find at these five objects and identify the edges, vertices, and faces of each object.
I circulate the room and aid in any misconceptions of the vocabulary.
I bring the students back to their seats to explain the final activity for the lesson. Students will be creating a human base to a triangular prism. I show students a small wooden version of a right triangular prism. We identify the edges, faces, and vertices of the figure.
Alright, to test your knowledge of the vocabulary words introduced today I am going to have you create the base of this triangular prism. The only rules are that you can only use your bodies and the base must be lying on the ground.
Each person can only represent one thing; if you are a vertex, you are only a vertex and if you are an edge, you only an edge. You will work with your group to make this human model. The first group to correctly make a model of triangular prism base wins.
The idea is that students create the triangular base using three people as vertices, three people as edges, and one person as the face. If groups of seven do not work for your class you can easily adjust. If you have extra people, they can be designers and help the rest of the group get into formation. If you are a short a few people, you can have a replacement object such as a chair or backpack.