Volume of Prisms and Pyramids

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SWBAT solve problems involving the volume of prisms and pyramids

Big Idea

In this lesson, students practice solving problems involving the volume of prisms and pyramids with polygonal bases.

Do Now

7 minutes

In the Do Now, students answer several questions relating to volume. The first and second questions ask students to explain how units of measurement relate to area and volume, respectively. Most of my students are able to recognize that area is measured in square units and that volume is measured in cubic units; however, they do not fully comprehend why. As we discuss what these measurements mean, some students have an "aha! moment" when they realize that we measure volume in cubic units because it describes the number of cubes of a certain size that fill a shape. 


For the last three questions, students are asked to find the dimensions of shapes based on its area or volume. The last question has multiple answers. Students are asked to find the dimensions of a rectangular prism with a volume of 180 cubic centimeters. It is helpful for students to see that shapes with different dimensions can have the same volume. 


10 minutes


23 minutes

During the mini-lesson, we went over the methods for finding the volume of a prism and the volume of a pyramid.  In the activity, students work in pairs to solve word problems involving the volume of prisms and pyramids (G.GMD.3). Some of the problems are straightforward, while others may be more challenging for the students. 

I have the students work in pairs to enable discourse between the students. Discussion helps to increase engagement and comprehension. They work together to understand the problem and decide on the best method to find the solution (MP1, MP2). As the students are working, I assign each pair a specific problem to present to the class.

After about 15 minutes, we go over the answers. Students read the problem and explain their solution while the other students in the class check their work. If there are any discrepancies, students need to defend their answer or make changes if they make a mistake (MP3).


5 minutes

At the end the lesson, students apply the concepts learned in the lesson to a real world problem. They are given an exit ticket with the original and current dimensions of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Students use the information to find the percent decrease of the volume over the years. 

When the students finish, I collect their exit tickets and check to see how well the students understood the concepts. I use the results to inform the next lesson. If necessary, I can include more practice problems in the Do Now.