Strengthen your students’ understanding of volume concepts with this set of task cards and printables, the perfect print-and-go resource for finding the volume of prisms. The 32 task cards and graphic reference sheet will provide your students with practice examining and analyzing rectangular prisms, and the scaffolded difficulty level will allow for easy differentiation. Extend your students’ practice (or assess their level of mastery) with the 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.
• Represent threefold whole-number products as volumes, e.g., to represent the associative property of multiplication. (5.MD.5a)
• Apply the formulas V = l x w x h and V=b x h for rectangular prisms to find volumes of right rectangular prisms with whole- number edge lengths in the context of solving real world and mathematical problems. (5.MD.5b)
• graphic reference sheet
• 32 task cards
• 8 self-checking “answer cards”
• task card answer sheet and key
• 4 assessment activities and key/scoring guide
About the Cards
This set of task cards & resources is a follow-up to Set A in my Turn Up the Volume!
series. It focuses primarily on the application of the formula for finding volume of rectangular prisms, presenting prisms that are not divided into cubic sections, but shown whole with labeled dimensions. The majority of the numbers used for the prisms’ dimensions are single-digit numbers, with some double-digit multiples of 10 and some numbers in the teens up through 16. The size of the numbers chosen to allow the cards to be as accessible as possible to the wide range of students you likely have in your class.
The cards are organized by difficulty, and there are 8 different types of questions, with each set of 4 cards featuring one particular question type. Cards 1 through 4 feature one kind of question, cards 5 through 8 feature a different type of question, and so on. The questions build in difficulty, with each set of four cards presenting problems that are more challenging than the cards that precede them. This set will require far more of your students than just multiplying three numbers. They will have to reason about volume, strengthening their understanding of this key measurement concept. The questions require them to identify the dimensions and volume of given prisms, identify a variety of multiplication expressions that could be used to find the volume of given prisms, write inequalities comparing the volumes of two prisms, apply knowledge of perimeter and area to help solve problems about volume, use volume and known dimensions to find an unknown dimension, describe the relationship between two related prisms, and reason about the dimensions and volumes of elements of a rectilinear prisms (prisms composed of two rectangular prisms that have been combined).
Using the Cards
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 labeled rectangular prisms and ask the students to either identify the volume or the dimensions. Cards 5 through 8 present labeled prisms and ask students to identify one or more multiplication expressions that could be used to find the volume. Cards 9 through 12 present pairs of rectangular prisms and ask the students to find the volume of each prism and then use the symbol >, <, or = to compare the volumes. The progressive structure of the cards can help you meet the diverse needs within your class. Decide which set of four cards you want your students to work with and then differentiate based on your students’ levels of proficiency with the target concept. You may:
• have your students work through all four cards in each set at the same time while you circulate and provide guided support,
• work through the first card together and then have students use the other three as paired or independent practice,
• have your more able students complete the cards on their own while you provide guidance to a small group,
• have students work in pairs to complete the first two and then complete the other two on their own, or
• have students who are still building an understanding of volume work on an early set of cards (such as cards 1-4) while students who have some mastery of the concept work on a later set (such as cards 9-12).
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 that illustrates the relationship between the lengths of a rectangular prism’s edges and its volume, presenting the formulas V = l x w x h and V = B x h, and demonstrating how the associative property of multiplication allows for flexibility when multiplying the dimensions. 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 volume of rectangular prisms. Both activities contain questions similar to those on the cards, making these activities ideal counterparts to the task cards. The pair of activities are formatted similarly, and have similar types of questions, though the numbers on each are different. While I designed these activities as assessments, you can use them in a variety of ways – homework, center assignments, paired practice, or any other purpose that fits your teaching style or classroom routines. Answer keys, rubrics, and scoring guides are included for all of the assessment activities.
If you are looking for introductory volume materials, check out my Turn Up the Volume (Set A)
task cards and printables. Set A 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 – and is available here
Extend your students’ understanding of volume with my Turn Up the Volume (Set C)
task cards and printables. This set focuses on finding the volume of rectilinear figures – three-dimensional figures that are composed of non-overlapping rectangular prisms – and is available here
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)
Turn Up the Volume - finding volume with cubes task cards + printables (set a)
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