Area and Volume

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This Explorer lesson by Timothy Welch provides hands-on learning about area and volume.

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Students sometimes need a break from paper and pencil math problems in order to keep them interested and stimulated in math. For some kids certain math concepts are too abstract and need to be made more hands-on. Many students have a difficult time understanding the concepts of area and volume. Textbooks have pictures that don't always allow the students to grasp the ideas. This activity takes away the abstract idea and replaces it with a concrete model.

Grades: 3, 4

Educational Support Type: Lesson Plan

Author: Timothy Welch, Greenwood Elementary School, LaGrande, OR.


Students will be able to describe the difference between area and volume and also be able to understand how various units of measure relate to one another.


Following an introduction to area and volume students will work in groups to build models of square centimeters, square inches, square feet, square meters, and then cubic centimeters, cubic inches, cubic feet, and cubic meters. This becomes a good cooperative team effort at problem solving. Students are provided with materials, but no initial instruction is given on how to build their models.


Newspaper, scissors, masking tape, rulers and meter sticks, cardboard (and something to cut it with), markers to identify finished models.


When the groups have completed their projects they will send a spokesperson to the front of the room to share with the class what they have built, what it is called, and how it compares to some of the other models built by other groups. This activity leaves students with a lasting memory of these ideas which are otherwise hard to grasp.

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