Mathematics unfolding: Volume
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Many students confuse area and volume because they do not have a clear understanding of what each one describes. It is often helpful to have students build their own models of three-dimensional figures with small cubes so that they better understand what we mean when we say that a solid occupies 3-dimensional space.

Through this animation, students begin to understand how to calculate the volume of a rectangular prism by approaching the problem through the concept of capacity: how many cubes will fill the prism? Students see that the total number of cubes in the prism is the number of cubes in one rectangular layer (found by multiplying the length and the width) times the number of layers of cubes in the prism (the height). This enables them to connect the concrete model to the formula V = l•w•h. Giving students small boxes that they can fill with cubes can help them make sense of the volume-capacity connection shown here.