Lesson 3
Volumes of Prism Drawings
Lesson Purpose
The purpose of this lesson is for students to find the volume of a rectangular prism using its layered structure.
Lesson Narrative
In previous lessons, students built objects, including rectangular prisms, with unit cubes and counted the number of cubes. In this lesson, students continue to count the number of unit cubes needed to build a rectangular prism, but now they are presented with images of prisms instead of the objects themselves. To encourage students to develop a systematic way to count the cubes, they are shown prisms made from larger numbers of cubes. As students use horizontal or vertical layers to measure the volume, they make use of the layered structure of prisms (MP7).
Math Community
Tell students that, at the end of the lesson, they will be asked to identify specific actions from their “Doing Math” list (both teacher and student sections) they personally experienced.
 Representation
 MLR8
Learning Goals
Teacher Facing
 Find the volume of a rectangular prism using its layered structure.
Student Facing
 Let's use layers to find volume.
Required Materials
Materials to Gather
Materials to Copy
 Card Sort Rectangular Prism Cards
Required Preparation
Activity 1:
 Create a set of cards from the blackline master for each group of 4.
 Each group of 2 needs 48 connecting cubes.
Activity 2:
 Give students access to connecting cubes.
Lesson Timeline
Warmup  10 min 
Activity 1  20 min 
Activity 2  15 min 
Lesson Synthesis  10 min 
Cooldown  5 min 
Teacher Reflection Questions
What connections did students make between the different strategies they used to build the prisms and determine the volume? What questions did you ask to help make the connections more visible?
Suggested Centers
 Can You Build It? (3–5), Stage 3: Rectangular Prisms (Addressing)
 Five in a Row: Multiplication (3–5), Stage 3: Twodigit Factors (Supporting)
Print Formatted Materials
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Additional Resources
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