Volume of Multiple Objects

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The students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of volume with irregular shapes.

Big Idea

Will it all fit?


15 minutes

In this lesson students will be investigating a situation in which they would need to look at three separate volumes as an irregular shape.  Students will be working in groups to complete the task which requires a lot of spatial reasoning and understanding of volume. 

In order to activate student’s math brains today we play a quick game called Rolling a Prism.  Students will be determining volume from three random numbers that represent the dimensions of the right rectangular prism.  I have students use their whiteboards to work out solutions and draw models. 

To begin play I use three dice and roll them under the document camera so students can see the dice.  I ask students to draw a model of the newly created prism and determine the volume.  I use six-sided dice to start and then move to twelve-sided dice. 


30 minutes

In the task for this lesson students are given box dimensions of three boxes of books.  Their job is to determine if the boxes will fit in the fixed volume of their teacher’s trunk.  They will need to think of the three boxes of books as one irregular shape in order to determine if the boxes will fit within the trunk. 

I provide each group with a copy of the task and begin by reading the task to the students.  I then allow them to begin the task as I circulate the room and guide thinking when needed. I tell the students they may use whatever resources they need in order to help them solve the task but they need to record their findings using pictures, words, and numbers.


15 minutes

I wrap up the lesson by simply going over the task with the students.  I have groups present their findings in one of the three mechanisms for reporting(picture, words, or numbers).  The students that are watching the group present are asked to comment on the findings of the presenting group when they are finished.  Students can ask questions to the groups or comment on their findings/presentation. 

As student’s are commenting or questioning on the previous groups presentation I monitor responses for misconceptions and aid if necessary.