Area & Volume: Addressing Lingering Misconceptions

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SWBAT demonstrate their ability to target the standards for which they need intervention to obtain and retain conceptual understanding successfully.

Big Idea

Figures that don't add up: Digging into and addressing deficit areas to facilitate mastery.

Tailor Made Review

70 minutes

This lesson is one that has to be built by the individual teacher. I say this because only the teacher and the data can determine what should happen during a lesson such as this. For this reason, I am simply providing some insight as to the best method, that I have found, in regard to reviewing for an assessment.

Preparing to Review:

  • At least two days before a unit assessment, I give my students a quiz that encompasses all the standards of the unit.
  • After my students complete the quiz, I have them grade the quizzes by switching papers knowing that they will have an opportunity to correct their wrong answers to help keep anxiety at a minimum as it pertains to quiz grades, thereby increasing integrity of the reported scores.
  • I then record which students missed each of the questions presented on the quiz.


Designing Tailor Made Review:

  • After that, I design a review day that includes stations that cover the deficit areas that were uncovered by the quiz results
  • I then prepare index cards that tell my students which stations that they have to visit during the station day making their review experience unique to their needs.



I create altered versions of the station for those of my students who are struggling. I do this to help cultivate independence and minimize the students' dependence on me, the teacher, and their higher-achieving peers. When students are able to figure problems out on their own, it builds their confidence, making them more likely to "Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them," during this review day. Furthermore, in building their confidence, students will be more likely to attempt and be willing to struggle through problems that they encounter in the future.

Those who are higher achieving students will receive a challenging task of some sort to stretch their thinking and foster a deeper understanding of the concept.


During the Review:

  • When the review day arrives, it is my job to facilitate engagement and successful completion of each station task, while observing and addressing any misconceptions that might appear.
  • I will also spend time visiting with a small group of struggling students where I will utilize strategies to activate learning and bolster achievement levels. These strategies include but are not limited to; skill building, confidence building, modeling, strategic questioning, and generally filling in knowledge gaps as it pertains to the unit.


Ideas for Tailoring This Review

When dealing with the concepts of Area and Volume, there are a lot of different things that you can do as far as review stations are concerned.

In my experience, finding volume of rectangular prisms is quite easy for students, especially considering that this standard only deals with right rectangular prisms. For this reason, It can be beneficial to create one station dealing with volume and all the rest of your station could deal with area.

For Example:

I set up my class in 4 stations. The first station dealt with area of regular polygons... The second station dealt with area of composite figures... The third station dealt with surface area... The fourth station dealt with volume.

In my class, my students struggled most with the composite figures and surface area. This being the case, I ensured that my stations somehow incorporated those two elements of this unit. For instance, in the first station dealing with area of regular polygons, the students wouldn't be given just regular polygons. They would be given irregular polygons (composite figures) and they had to break that irregular polygon into all the regular polygons they could and find the area of those regular polygons. That way, when they got to the station dealing with composite figures, they have already practiced decomposing composite figures and finding the area of each regular figure found in the composite figure. They would just have to add on the step of adding all the different areas together to find the total area.

In my volume station, I made sure to ask questions such as how many cubes can fit into this rectangular prism. The students would have to determine this several times using the same rectangular prism but, different sized cubes each time. This allows them to make a connection between unit size and the solution that they arrive to as it pertains to volume.

While this is a great set up, please understand that this changes according to my students' needs based upon what data has shown. This being the case, make sure that you adjust your station review according to your students' needs as well. If your students understand area of composite figures and surface area very well, then don't create stations where they have to spend much of their time doing something they have already mastered... A simple review station will do. Instead, create stations that will cater to your students' needs.