Surface Area and Volume of Pyramids Unit

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day 1:  I had students tape down the green sheet with the formulas on the left side of their notebook and their Pyramids foldable on the right side. We labeled the important parts of the square pyramid on the formula sheet first. After labeling only the square pyramids on the formula sheet, we completed two example problems over finding the surface area and volume of square pyramids. During the notes, I did example 1 and we went through it very slowly while I walked around to make sure each student understood what I was doing at all times. Students were responsible for trying to complete the second example on their own and about 85% could do it! I did go over it after a certain amount of time to clear up any misconceptions. Less is more for this unit!!! :)

After the notes in our new foldable, I passed out the homework assignment below. Students did really well on this and I included the QR codes for students to check their answers before they plugged them into the formulas. They did have to show work to receive credit!!

Day 2: I was absent this day and my student teacher was nice enough to teach all of my classes without me having to make a video lesson! Thanks Nate ;) Anyways, my student teacher had students label the important parts of triangular pyramids on our green formula sheet and then went over the two examples of finding the surface area and volume of triangular pyramids. The next day he told me that he did have to go over both problems because a majority of our students could not find all the variables on their own.

After the notes, students completed the following homework assignment over finding the surface area and volume of triangular pyramids.

Day 3: On the third day of our pyramids unit, students learned how to find the surface area and volume of hexagonal pyramids. For some reason, students prefer hexagons over triangles (even in our prisms unit). Again, we labeled our formula sheet and did two example problems in our foldable. However, students told me that they wanted me to let them try the second example because "Mrs. Newell, this is TOO EASY!" After the foldable, students worked on the following homework assignment.

Day 4: We practiced some more dimensional change practice through the graphic organizer below because I felt that we did not have adequate notes in our notebook. I did the pink sheet with them for a reminder of the rules of dimensional change and then I had students complete the white half-sheet where students had to solve example 1 and then plug the answer into the empty box in example 2. They repeat this process until they get the answer to example 4. I had students write down the answer to example 4 on a whiteboard and had them show it to me. In some classes, 100% of the students received the correct answer and in the classes that did not, we did go over it as a class. Below are pictures of the graphic organizer and example worksheet. (I did mess up on the white half-sheet but I did fix it in the files :))

After we completed the notes over dimensional change, students did an awesome activity that is currently on my Classroom Activities page "Least to Greatest Surface Area and Volume of Pyramids Activity". This activity was very difficult for some students and took them awhile but I feel that this helped students out SO much and I could definitely see an improvement in their understanding after this activity.

Once students completed the activity, I handed the following assignment that was a review over everything that we have learned about pyramids. For some reason, 98% of my students turn in their half sheet homework but I will only receive back about 30% of homework that is a full sheet.

Day 5: Students walked in and completed an "Are you Ready for Pyramids Quiz" worksheet. In some classes, they like to answer the questions on the whiteboard and show them to me and in others, they like to write on their desks with expo markers. After we did the "Are you Ready" worksheet, students completed the pyramids quiz independently. I did make a "modified version" of the quiz (which would be Form C). Students performed extremely well on this quiz and it was a great start to my weekend!

Day 6: Today was my review day and students completed the following activity where they had to start at card A and make their way until they reached card P. Students had to show their work on the provided answer document and then search for the answer in the top left corner of a previous card. Students were 99.9% engaged during this activity and I will definitely be creating some more of these cards (even though it was a PAIN to cut out them out).

MAJOR LIFE SAVING HINT: Print these out on cardstock and laminate for durability. Also, in the picture it says "113" but I did correct it to "13."

Day 7: Today was TEST DAY and students did absolutely amazing. Only one student in each class period did not pass the test! Again, maybe it was too easy and I need to combine the units or maybe, the short formative assessments help students in the long run?!?!

  • I found that students referenced our "green formula sheet" multiple times throughout the class period. I love having these formula sheets to the side of our foldables!
  • Still.... are these half sheets making their grades improve or is it something else?
  • I still want to combine all of the 3D shapes into one big surface area and volume unit for next year

Here are some of the files that I used during this unit: 

Thanks for taking the time to read this! Again, sorry for any grammar or punctuation errors, I am catching up on the walking dead! Any feedback is welcome :)


  1. I love your formula cards! I have used your area of the sector and arc length material as well. This has made teaching surface area and volume so much easier. Would you mind sending me the activity from day 4? My email address is

  2. I love your formula cards! I have used your area of the sector and arc length material as well. This has made teaching surface area and volume so much easier. Would you mind sending me the activity from day 4? My email address is

    1. Thank you! I posted the activity called "Least to Greatest" on my Classroom Activities page.

  3. Do you have the homework page posted for us to use? I really think my kids will benefit from that!