Lesson plan

3. Understand that unit cubes measure volume (C)

teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.C.3a http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/5/MD/C/3/a
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP3 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP3
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Lesson objective: Understand that we can measure volume by packing cubes, and counting the total amount of cubes.

Students bring prior knowledge of unit squares from 3.MD.5. This prior knowledge is extended to volume as students pack cubes into rectangular prisms. A conceptual challenge students may encounter is the misunderstanding of layers and the relationship with height. 

The concept is developed through work with a rectangular shoebox, which the students are given dimensions for and can create a volume model to solve.

This work helps students deepen their understanding of equivalence because it allows them to explore a new measurement.

Students engage in Mathematical Practice 3 (Construct viable arguments) as students choose whether dominoes or die are cubes, then convince someone who is in opposition.

Key vocabulary:

  • cube
  • unit cube
  • unit square
  • volume

Special materials needed:

  • unit cubes