Lesson Plan

Calculating Volume of a Cereal Box

Collaborating to understand and find volume
Anna G.
Classroom teacher
James Denman Middle School
San Francisco, CA
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects Math, Science
EdTech Mentor

For this activity, students will get a chance to apply the concept of volume to a real life problem.  Most students are familiar with using whole units when calculating volume.  This activity will ask students to use half units instead. 

  • Students will be able to understand and calculate volume.
  • Students will be able to apply their understanding of volume to a real life situation pertaining to cereal.
  • Students will be able to communicate their thinking and understanding of volume using a storyboard.
  • Students will be able to create a screencast collaboratively on Educreations to show their understanding of volume.
Grades 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Introduction and Hook

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 Introduce the activity by asking the students to define volume and what volume means. Remind students about what they already know about volume.  They will be creating a video where they will show and explain their work.  

Show them the video on volume on Brainpop. http://www.brainpop.com/math/geometryandmeasurement/volumeofprisms/previ...

If you have not already created a class account, make sure you create course codes for each of your classes for Educreations.  Give the course code to your students and have them create their own accounts.  Once the students are linked to your course code, their videos will be submitted directly to you so you can view them at any time.

2 Activity Introduction

Activity: Reading

At this point, you will introduce the problem to the students and review your expectations of how to complete the problem.  This is a good time to show and review the rubric.

You and your partner want to find the volume of your cereal box, but you only have ½ inch cubes available. You measured the box and found that it was 7 ½ inches wide, 11 inches tall and 2 ½ inches thick. With your partner, determine how many ½ inch cubes do you need to fill the cereal box?

By the end of the activity, the students will have created a video showing and explaining how they completed the problem with their partner.

3 Partner Work

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The first step of this activity involves having the students do the math.  Students do the work on paper and then create a storyboard or map on Penultimate or Popplet.  I have my students create storyboards or maps so that they are completely sure about what they will be saying and showing on Educreations.  Their storyboard acts as a rough draft for their video.

4 Video Creation

After the students are done with their storyboard, they will lay out their work on Educreations.   Students will recreate the work they did on their storyboards in Educreations.  Each box on the storyboard represents one slide in Educreations.  I highly suggest students edit their slides for grammar and spelling as they work.  It also looks nicer if some of their text is typed while also adding handwritten work to explain their process.  Once they create the slides, they will find a quiet place in the hallway to record their audio.

5 Viewing and Wrap-Up

Activity: Presenting — Video Presentations

Students will now get a chance to view a selection of videos created by their classmates.  It is more valuable and powerful to view them with the students.  Sometimes the students see things I don’t catch.  When we view the screencasts, we look for four things:

Technique – How did the creators solve the problem?
Strengths – What did the creators do well?
Improvement – How can the creators improve their work?
Incorrect – If the solution was incorrect, where should the creators go back to correct their work?

As the students critique each others work, I am also assessing the creators by looking at whether or not they understood the content standard and which practices they used to solve the problem.