Lesson plan

6. Understand that volume can be measured by packing objects with unit cubes (C)

teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.C.3b http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/5/MD/C/3/b
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP6 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP6
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Lesson objective: Understand that we find the volume of a three dimensional shape by packing unit cubes then counting the total amount of cubes.

Students bring prior knowledge of tiling squares from 3.MD.5. This prior knowledge is extended to volume as students develop an understanding of packing to find volume. A conceptual challenge students may encounter is understanding the height of the object is equivalent to the layers of cubes that can be packed in an object. 

The concept is developed through work with a shoebox, which has dimensions, and allows students to explore how this shoebox may be packed.

This work helps students deepen their understanding of equivalence because they are deepening their understanding of a new measurement.

Students engage in Mathematical Practice 6 (Attend to precision) as they calculate volume accurately and efficiently, expressing numerical answers.

Key vocabulary:

  • cubic
  • height
  • length
  • packing
  • unit cube
  • volume
  • width