Lesson 15

Distinguishing Volume and Surface Area

Lesson Narrative

This is the first of two lessons where students apply their knowledge of surface area and volume to solve real-world problems. The purpose of this first lesson is to help students distinguish between surface area and volume and to choose which of the two quantities is appropriate for solving a problem. They solve problems that require finding the surface area or volume of a prism, or both. When they choose whether to use surface area or volume, they are choosing a mathematical model for the situation and engaging in MP4.

Learning Goals

Teacher Facing

• Compare and contrast (orally and in writing) problems that involve surface area and volume of prisms.
• Decide whether to calculate the surface area or volume of a prism to solve a problem in a real-world situation, and justify (orally) the decision.
• Estimate measurements of a prism in a real-world situation, and explain (orally) the estimation strategy.

Student Facing

Let’s work with surface area and volume in context.

Required Preparation

Make 1 copy of the Card Sort: Surface Area or Volume blackline master for every 2 students, and cut them up ahead of time.

Student Facing

• I can decide whether I need to find the surface area or volume when solving a problem about a real-world situation.