In this investigation, students will use raw spaghetti and mini marshmallows to discover how the surface area and volume of a prism relate to the surface area and volume of the respective oblique prism. Students will be asked to create a rectangular prism using marshmallows to connect the vertices. Using a ruler, they will measure the dimensions of the prism, calculate and record the surface area and volume. Then they will make their prism into an OBLIQUE prism by giving it a slight push to the right. Students will then recalculate the surface area and volume of this prism.
The extension asks students to consider how their findings could be important to packaging companies.
Materials needed for investigation: student handout, raw spaghetti, mini marshmallows (8 per prism), rulers, paper towels or baby wipes (students sometimes complain about their sticky fingers)
Answer Key: Since this is a student investigation, student answers will vary. However, if you need a way to quickly check their answers, an Excel table is embedded in the product. Just double click on a cell in the table & enter the students’ measurements for length, width and height. The table will calculate the volume and surface area for you!!
Common Core Standards:
CCSS.Math.Content.7.G.B.6 Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, volume and surface area of two- and three-dimensional objects composed of triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, cubes, and right prisms.
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