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.

Learning Targets

Student Facing

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

CCSS Standards


Print Formatted Materials

Teachers with a valid work email address can click here to register or sign in for free access to Cool Down, Teacher Guide, and PowerPoint materials.

Student Task Statements pdf docx
Cumulative Practice Problem Set pdf docx
Cool Down Log In
Teacher Guide Log In
Teacher Presentation Materials pdf docx
Blackline Masters zip

Additional Resources

Google Slides Log In
PowerPoint Slides Log In