Finding Volume with Story Problems

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The students will be able to solve real world problems involving the concept of volume.

Big Idea

Tomato, Tomaato!


15 minutes

In this lesson students will demonstrate their understanding of volume by solving some story problems.  They will work in groups to complete the task and then end the lesson with an exit slip. 

I begin this lesson by setting the backdrop for our story problems.  The problems that the students will be working with today involve looking a garden planter that a boy wants to fill with soil.  Some of my students may be unfamiliar with the concept of having a garden so we have a discussion about gardens.

Today we’re going to be looking at a situation in which a young boy, Geoffrey, wants to build some planter boxes for tomatoes he wants to grow at his house.  Does anyone have a garden or a planter box at their house?  Describe what the box looks like and what is in it?  What are some reasons you might have a garden or planter at your house?

I let the students lead the direction of the conversation since it is meant to provide background based on their prior knowledge.  Once the conversation is wrapped up we begin to help Geoffrey. 


30 minutes

I provide each student with a copy of the worksheet.  I tell them they are going to be working in groups today to help Geoffrey with his plan.  The students need to show their own work for each problem by drawing models and labeling them.  After reviewing the work requirements with them, I turn them lose to begin working.

As the students work in groups I circulate the room and aid in students/groups that are struggling.  Although the students at this point are comfortable with volume sometimes it is difficult for them to conceptualize and apply the knowledge.  If students want to use the base ten blocks to help them with a physical model, I have the blocks available. 

After allowing the students time to work in their groups we go over the worksheet and address solutions and possible misconceptions. 


15 minutes

Students were able to work in groups to demonstrate their knowledge of volume in the practice portion of this lesson.  In order to check students’ understanding of volume individually, I have them complete an exit slip. 

The exit slip is rather straight forward but does require the student to be able to multiply two digit by two digit numbers.  The problem has places an emphasis on the previous work of comparing surface area to volume.