Friday, May 1, 2015

S.T.E.M. Challenge Exploring Volume!

We are just finishing up one of our Geometry units in math workshop.  This unit looked at standards around coordinate grids, volume, and area. The students will be completing their learning models and final assessment next week.

To have a little fun on this Friday morning, Angela and I decided to spend today's workshop tackling a STEM activity exploring volume. This creative and fun challenge came from CDavis @ Teachers are Terrific. She has amazing STEM activities on her Teachers pay Teachers store. Be sure to check them out! 

We began our mini lesson by reading Tomie de  Paola’s book-The Popcorn Book. This nonfiction book presents a variety of facts about popcorn and helped us set the stage for our volume activity. Our students were faced with the challenge of designing and building a container that would hold EXACTLY 293 pieces of popped popcorn. The groups were given a sample sizes of 10. This small amount of popcorn helped them estimate volumes and construct a container for the larger amount. Each group was given a roll of tape, scissors, a ruler, stapler, and unlimited pieces of paper. Then they were asked to use their knowledge of volume to work together and create the vessel. 

With 40 minutes on the clock, the kids were off and constructing! They used a lab sheet to plan out their groups' thinking and to sketch their possible ideas and final design. While the groups collaborated and created, they snacked on popcorn and got to constructing! 

In the end, two of our vessels met the challenge and successfully held all of the popcorn with little to no room to spare. We had an additional 4 vessels that came very close to meeting the challenge. They had an inch or less at the top! 


  1. Spectacular! I am so excited that I found your blog post so I could see a classroom using my challenge! Thank you so much for the recognition and for using my idea! Thank you thank you!
    Teachers Are Terrific!

    1. Thanks, again! We love your work! We are going to be incorporating much more STEM work into our learning environment next year, so we'd love to stay connected!