Hands-On Volume, On a Budget, On the Fly


     My 5th grade students have pretty-well grasped the concept of volume, but I wanted them to get some more practice measuring, recording, and labeling different items.  Last week was typically hectic and I forgot (imagine that) to ask them to bring in empty boxes from home.
      With my mind racing like a hamster in a cage - does yours ever do that? - I started scavenging items from around the room and a few from the discarded boxes pile in the hall.  Here's what I collected:
  • a tissue box
  • a paper box lid
  • some rectangular prisms from my geometrical shapes box
  • the geometrical shapes box
  • some boxes with things still in them
     I put them in 11 spots (stations), used sticky notes to number the stations, and dropped a tape measure at each one.  I used my craft sticks with names on them to quickly create student pairs.  Students paired up and went to a station.
      Instructions were to measure all three dimensions in inches, record the dimensions, find the volume, then record and correctly label the volume in cubic inches.  We'll do metric next time.


  It worked pretty well.  The pro results: Students were quickly engaged in meaningful, hands-on math.  They followed directions, for the most part.  The noise level was pretty good.  The con results: Due to my on-the-fly preparation, some of the stations had the same kind of box.  Believe me, the kids let me know.  Oops.
     As usual, I had a few early-finishers who asked, as usual, "What do we do when we're done?"  After I replied, as usual, "Well, you never ask me the question 'What do we do when we're done'", I suggested they find another rectangular prism to measure. A filing cabinet sufficed nicely.
     Do you have a favorite volume activity?  I'd love to hear your comments!
  
Pat McFadyen
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[name=Pat McFadyen] [img=http://i1064.photobucket.com/albums/u378/designbychristi/blogs/Pat.jpg] [description=My purpose is to support YOU and your students with practical solutions and curriculum materials that teach, play, practice, and assess.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/GrowingIn5thGrade/)

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