This Java-based activity lets students manipulate a 3-D rectangular prism or triangular prism to explore surface area and volume. The geometric model is designed to help secondary students visualize the relationship of width, depth, and height in calculating and estimating volume/surface area. This resource is part of CSERD (Computational Science Education Reference Desk), a portal of the National Science Digital Library. The Interactivate collection contains more than 200 standards-based activities, many of which have been classroom tested.


  • Mathematics > General

Education Levels:

  • Grade 1
  • Grade 2
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5
  • Grade 6
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 9
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12


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Update Standards?

CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4: Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Model with mathematics.

CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.C: Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Geometric measurement: understand concepts of volume and relate volume to multiplication and to addition.

CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.C.3: Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Recognize volume as an attribute of solid figures and understand concepts of volume measurement.

CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.C.3a: Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

A cube with side length 1 unit, called a "unit cube," is said to have "one cubic unit" of volume, and can be used to measure volume.

CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.C.5: Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Relate volume to the operations of multiplication and addition and solve real world and mathematical problems involving volume.

CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.C.5a: Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Find the volume of a right rectangular prism with whole-number side lengths by packing it with unit cubes, and show that the volume is the same as would be found by multiplying the edge lengths, equivalently by multiplying the height by the area of the base. Represent threefold whole-number products as volumes, e.g., to represent the associative property of multiplication.

CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.C.5b: Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

Apply the formulas V = l × w × h and V = b × h for rectangular prisms to find volumes of right rectangular prisms with whole-number edge lengths in the context of solving real world and mathematical problems.
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