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Volume Activity

volume activity  volume activity 2


  • Box sheets, pages 138-146 (1 set per student)

  • Scissors (1 per student)

  • One or more scotch tape dispensers


Students particularly enjoy this Math Art project. They learn to calculate the volume of nine nested boxes (which can also be converted into a 45-centimeter tall tower).

Before students begin working, explain to them how volume is related to what they learned about perimeter and area. Perimeter is measured using linear units. Area is measured using square units. Volume is measured using cube units. Draw examples of all three on the board.

volume activity 3

Explain to students that volume is “3D” because it measures three dimensions (or three “directions”). Show them a completed set of nine nested boxes (previously constructed by the teacher) and explain how each box has the dimensions of length, width, and height. If we multiply the three dimensions of a box, we discover how many cubes can fit inside. The number of cubes that can fit inside a box is called its volume.

Next, the teacher should demonstrate how the nine nested boxes can be converted into a tower. Ask them, “Which box is the biggest?” If they answer the wide one on the bottom, say “What do you mean? That box is so flat!” If they answer the tall one on top, say, “Really? That box is so skinny!” The point is to remind them that every box has three dimensions—some of the boxes are larger in length and width, while others are larger in height. The only way we can really find out which box is “biggest” is by figuring out how many cubes each one can hold; in other words, calculating the volume of each.

Get the entire lesson!
activity book