Help your students build a strong foundation in volume concepts with this set of task cards and printables, the perfect print-and-go resource for beginning volume concepts. The 32 task cards and graphic reference sheet will provide your students with practice counting and computing with cubes to find the volume of prisms and irregular figures, and the varied question types on the cards develop their ability to reason about volume. Extend your students’ practice (or assess their level of mastery) with the two included assessment activities. With these resources, your students will grow stronger in their understanding of key volume concepts.
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics addressed:
Measurement and Data (MD)
Geometric measurement: understand concepts of volume and relate volume to multiplication and to addition.
• Measure volumes by counting unit cubes, using cubic cm, cubic in, cubic ft, and improvised units. (5.MD.4)
• Relate volume to the operations of multiplication and addition and solve real world and mathematical problems involving volume. (5.MD.5)
• graphic reference sheet
• 32 task cards
• 8 self-checking “answer cards”
• task card answer sheet and key
• 2 assessment activities and key/scoring guide
About the Cards
This set is designed as an introduction to volume concepts. It focuses on the basics of volume instruction – counting (or using some other method) to determine the number of cubic units that make up prisms and other three-dimensional figures composed of cubes. The cards begin by presenting students with simple prisms made up of cubes, and then scale up in difficulty. The final twelve cards (cards 20 through 32) present students with irregular figures, all made up of cubes, and requires students to determine the number of cubes of which the figure is composed. The variety of question types will push your students to consider how cubes can be used to determine the volume of prisms. This set will require far more of your students than just counting cubes or adding and multiplying dimensions. They will have to reason about volume, strengthening their understanding of this key measurement concept. Please check out the preview to get an idea of the different types of questions on the cards!
Practicing the Concept
There are lots of ways in which you can implement the task cards. You can have the students work on them independently, working through the task cards on their own. The students can work on them in pairs or small groups, completing all the task cards in one session. You can use them in centers, having the students complete 6-8 task cards a day over the course of the week. You can even use them as a variation of “problem of the day”, giving each student 1 sheet of 4 cards to glue in their journals and solve, one sheet per day for eight days.
The varied problem types on the cards are organized in such a way to allow for scaffolded practice. Every four cards (cards 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, etc.) are formatted similarly and present similar types of problems. Cards 1 through 4, for instance, present prisms composed of cubes and ask the students to determine the volume or dimensions of the prisms. Cards 5 through 8 present pairs of prisms and ask students to compare the volumes of the prisms. Cards 9 through 12 show the students one layer of a completed prism, tell the number of layers in (or the full volume of) the completed prism, and require students to determine the unknown attribute of the prism. You can use this structure to meet the diverse needs within your class. Decide which set of four cards you want your student to work with and then differentiate based on your students’ levels of proficiency with the target concept. You may:
1) have your students work through all four at a time while you circulate and provide guided support;
2) work through the first card together and then have students use the other three as paired or independent practice;
3) have your more able students complete the cards on their own while you provide guidance to a small group; or,
4) have students work in pairs to complete the first two and then complete the other two on their own.
Included in this set are eight “answer cards” that can serve as a resource if you use a self-paced structure for implementing the task cards. Often, I would have kids work in pairs on cards while I circulated to spot check and give feedback to pairs of students. Naturally, I would get backed up and not be able to reach as many kids until after they had already made many mistakes. I designed these answer cards so that the students could check themselves: catching errors, figuring out for themselves what they did wrong, and (hopefully) avoiding the same mistake on later cards.
Reinforcing the Concept
Included among the printables is a graphic reference sheet illustrating key concepts that lay the foundation for a strong understanding of what volume is and how volume can be measured. When I use guides such as this one, I have the students glue them in their journals so that they can refer back to it whenever they work on classwork or homework. I think this reference sheet will be an excellent guide for your students while they work on the cards, as well as when they complete other tasks that relate to volume.
Assessing Student Understanding
The two provided assessment activities can be used to evaluate student understanding of using counting and calculations to determine the volume of three-dimensional figures. Both activities contain questions similar to those on the cards, making these activities ideal counterparts to the task cards. The pairs of worksheets are formatted similarly, and have similar types of questions, though the numbers on each are different. You can use these activity pages in a variety of ways. You could give one as a pre-test, then teach your lesson and allow students to practice with the task cards, and then give the second worksheet as an independent post-test. You could also have the students work on the task cards, then complete one of the worksheet as guided practice with yourself, a partner, or a small group, and then give the second worksheet as an independent assessment. The worksheets could also be given as homework, center assignments, or any other purpose that fits your teaching style or classroom routines.
For more practice with measurement concepts, please check out the other related resources I have available –
Name That Length - analyzing irregular prisms task cards + printables (set b)
In and Around - area and perimeter task cards + printables (set C)
World Records: Filling Foods - measurement units task cards & printables
Area and Perimeter Puzzlers - task cards + printables
I hope your students enjoy these resources and are able to build their proficiency with volume. – Dennis McDonald