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Volume Cone-acopia: A candy-based lesson on volume of cones

Grade Levels
7th - 10th
Formats Included
  • PDF
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This yummy lesson on volume of cones was once my day-before-Thanksgiving-break stand-by, but now, given the popularity of The Hunger Games, it seems to make sense any time of year (not that I’ve ever heard a child complain about an out-of-place seasonal theme when food is involved). This activity makes an awesome whole group lesson, intervention/remediation/test-prep activity, summer school resource, or anytime “let’s take a break and do something fun” activity.

For this lesson, you’ll need a copy of the handout for each student. (For teachers who use interactive notebooks, there is an optional cover for you to copy on the other side of the handout for a quick and easy foldable.) You’ll also need a cone for each student. I like to use ice cream cones, but budget-minded teachers will find that conical drinking cups work well, too. Candy is a must. Runts (hard candies in the shape of assorted fruits) are my favorite, but they do get pricey, so when I’m doing this activity with large groups, I usually go for Skittles. Really, any small candy that will fit in the cones will do.

I start by giving each kiddo a handout, a cone, and a ruler. The handout itself walks students through the activity. I typically have kids use 3 for pi, but that space has been left blank so you can have your students use a different approximation, if you wish. The instructions regarding units of measure have also been left blank so you can have kids use whatever works best with the cones you happen to have.

After students have followed all the instructions and correctly calculated the volume of their cones, I put a scoop of candy inside their cones and allow them to enjoy their “cone-acopias” while they work on a practice page for the rest of the period.

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For more activities related to volume, check out:
Spheres Are Sweet
Volume and Surface Area Koosh Ball Game for Interactive Whiteboards

For more edible geometry activities, check out my:
Modeling Pythagorean Theorem with Cheez-its
Spheres are Sweet

8(6)(B) – Model the relationship between the volume of a cylinder and a cone having both congruent bases and heights and connect that relationship to the formulas.

8(7)(A) – Solve problems involving the volume of cylinders, cones, and spheres.

8.8B – Connect models of prisms, cylinders, pyramids, spheres, and cones to formulas for volume of these objects.

8.8C – Estimate measurements and use formulas to solve application problems involving lateral and total surface area and volume.
Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
30 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Use volume formulas for cylinders, pyramids, cones, and spheres to solve problems.
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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