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7 Activities for Increasing Students’ Understanding of Volume

Get students interacting with their learning with these 7 activities for increasing students’ understanding of volume!

One of the best things about teaching volume is that volume makes for a great hands-on activity.

Whether students are manipulating blocks, filling containers with water, or playing games, they get lots of opportunities to ‘play’ with volume.

In this post, I’ve got several ideas for fun ways you can work on increasing students’ understanding of volume by using manipulatives or activities that get students excited to learn more.

#1 | Cubes

Whether they are wooden, foam, lego, or sugar, cubes are great for building shapes. You can use those cubes to make shapes with two prisms for practicing additives.

Once you have built some shapes, students can look for connections between shapes and calculate each form’s volume.

Below are some of my favorite volume manipulatives. Click on the pictures below to get your own set of each!

colorful foam cubes
Colorful Foam Cubes
Very small plastic cubes
Centimeter Plastic Cubes
wooden cubes
Wooden Cubes

#2 | Practice Volume with Rectangular Prisms

Another fun activity for increasing students’ understanding of volume is with rectangular prisms. 

You can start by using the same cubes you manipulated in #1 to make some prisms to work with, but you may also venture out and look for rectangular prisms in the ‘wild,’ so to speak.

Prisms can be hidden in lots of places. 

  • A stack of sticky notes
  • A cereal box
  • A book
  • A plastic storage container
  • A wall decoration
  • A pizza box
  • Blocks

Have your students search around their houses for examples of rectangular prisms to bring in, and then set them up around the room for students to measure and calculate.

#3 | Minute-to-Win-It Challenge

Practice using tiny place value cubes to play Minute-to-Win-It for volume. 

For example: set a timer and give students 1 minute to build a rectangular prism with a volume of 16 cubic centimeters. 

These activities for increasing students’ knowledge of volume allow the class to compare how solids with the same volume can look different. 

It also gives us a chance to have them build and understand how to decompose the volume of irregular prisms. The kids have a lot of fun with this one!

Activities for Increasing Students' Understanding of Volume Facebook Image

#4 | Boxes

Bring in boxes of all sorts and find their volume. 

Having several boxes of all sizes is what makes this activity super fun. Bring in a large TV box and then also bring in a ring box as well as a whole bunch that fall in between. Your students will love seeing the differences between the boxes and how their volumes compare.

To level up this activity, give students a volume and have them create a box that will meet the criteria!

#5 | Price is Right-Inspired Game Show

Find 5 different-sized food or product boxes, and set them up on one table. On a different table, display the volume of each box (but mix them up).

Call a student to the front of the class, and give them 30 seconds to match the boxes to their volumes.

I love this because they can use their classmate’s suggestions to figure it out. (Just like on The Price is Right)

After 30 seconds, tell them how many they have right, and give them another 30 seconds to figure out what needs to change.

If your students are not good at eyeballing volume, split them into groups and give them one minute to observe the boxes up close and gather information about them. Some groups may choose to try to take measurements, and some may spend time comparing them, etc.

This fun twist on a classic game show will get your students considering volume!

To really make this game fun, provide a full-class incentive if they get all the boxes correct in a single round. This may be a special treat, some stickers like we discussed in this post, or even a few extra minutes of recess.

Activities for Increasing Students' Understanding of Volume Pinterest Image

#6 | Up-Leveled Game Shows

If you liked #5, then you’ll probably like this activity idea too!

This one is digital, so it doesn’t require as much prep time!

This Volume Game Show is great for test prep and quickly assessing your student’s skills. The game plays like Jeopardy, so you can split students into groups or let them play individually. They can stand at tall tables, or they can sit at their desks…instructor’s choice!

Remember, adding sound effects and lighting can spice up your game show experience. We talk about several ways to up-level your game shows in this post!!

#7 | Card Games

Last but certainly not least, you can also use these U-KNOW cards to play a fun card game with your students. 

During this game, students will answer various questions related to volume and spend a lot of time-solving for volume.

This is an excellent game for centers or stations or small groups of early finishers. If you play U-KNOW games regularly in your classroom, your students can get started quickly with very little instruction!

We also have a few other games you can play with U-KNOW cards, like this ‘Markers‘ game or ‘U-KNOW War‘!

When you start inserting some of these activities for increasing students’ understanding of volume into your daily lessons, students get excited to learn. Each of the 7 activities in this list can give students some ‘learning’ time heavily steeped in ‘playing,’ making it all the more fun to study volume!!!

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