The study of 3D shapes is called Solid Geometry. It is close to real-life as we see only solids around. The first essential measurement useful in Solid Geometry is Volume. If we go by the formula, it is equal to length x width x height. We can say the volume is nothing but the amount of content any structure can hold in simpler words. It does confuse early learners when they are forced only to memorize and apply the formulae. That is why doing activities to teach volume serves the needs of math beginners who need strategy-driven learning methods.
How activities can give a better idea about volume to early learners?
Is there any way using which I can help my students to learn volume with a practical approach? I come across this question quite often. The good news is doing activities can help them understand the practical applications of the volume concept. Activities can act as promising teaching support to engage the students deeper in the learning process. Doing activities helps improve learning in the following ways:
- Instead of working with numbers, more tangible settings are created for disseminating the concept of volume among learners.
- The charm of doing something drives curiosity towards solving volume-based problems.
- Activities promote strategy-driven learning.
- New revelations during activities allow children to understand and connect volume with various other concepts. For example, area and volume or surface area and volume can be understood in relation to each other by doing activities.
Thinking of what activities can ease the learning of volume? Am sure, you are! So, here I bring you some engaging activities that you can do with early learners to befriend them with the concept of volume.
Learning-driven activities to teach volume to solid geometry beginners
1. Fill the measuring flasks
Give children measuring flasks of different shapes such as rectangle, cylinder, etc. Ask them to fill them to their capacity. Children can be taught the concept of holding the capacity (or volume) of various solids by this activity. Further, they can understand the formulae of calculating the volume of these shapes by finding height, width, and length by using a ruler. This activity helps the students understand that volume is the space that a liquid takes up in a container of any shape. You can start with symmetrical figures like cubes and then move on to cylinders etc., to help them progressively learn volume.
2. Create a tabletop models’ pie chart
You can pick a table and paste a chart paper on it. Collect some 3-D models like a ball, cylinder, Rubick cube, etc., which children see around them. Show them how to measure the length, width, and height of these models with rulers and calipers’ help. Design a pie chart with slots to paste these 3D models and write their respective formulae below the figures. It can be placed at an easily accessible location in the study room for frequent referencing.
3. Fit cubes in a big cube
Give children cubes with 1cm x1cm x 1cm measurements. You can have lots of these collected to distribute to students. Now, ask them to fit these cubes in bigger cubes having multiples of these measurements. By counting the cubes that fit the cube, one can arrive upon the volume value of bigger cubes. Giving one cube of 1 cm3 gives tacital understanding of the concept of unit of volume.
4. Play length, width, height game
It is a simple game where children make structures using connecting rods and spheres with holes. By making different shapes using these manipulatives, they internalize the process of finding length, height and width. Further, they can stuff the structures made with some filling to see what volume of any figure looks like in form. This game allows to understand practical presentation of the formulae like volume of cuboid = l x b x h, and others.
5. Do origami
In some volume activities, the students need to find the length, width, and height of the structures provided. In this activity, they go the other way round. They are given the dimensions and based on that information, they cut the chart paper and name those as l, w, or h. Then, they join these pieces with glue to get the desired structure. It helps them understand the rationale behind the formulae used for calculating formulae.
6. Make various structures with Unifix cubes
First, students are given the idea of how to calculate the volume. Then, they are asked to apply this process in making towers by joining Unifix cubes. They calculate the volume of the resultant tower achieved this process. Students can be asked to go creative, make other structures, and find their respective volumes. Thus, this activity provides students a platform to build their understanding of dimensions and apply formulae in the volume calculation process.
Doing volume activities eases the process of learning about this basic 3D geometry concept with better retention. While by learning formulae, students strengthen their conceptual understanding, by doing activities, they understand what the formulae mean in a real setting. While taking a break from bookish learning, students apply and implicate their knowledge to solve problems based on the concept of volume.
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