Surface Area & Volume of Prisms Unit

Monday, April 11, 2016
We just wrapped up our unit on finding the surface area and volume of prisms. At our school we break up surface area and volume into 3 units (prisms, pyramids, and then cones/cylinders spheres). I have NO idea why we do this but, I definitely want to change it up next year and make it as one big unit.

Day 1: Students taped down the Prisms formula chart to the left of their flip-book. It is extremely important to mirror how to set up the flip-book with your students because if not, there will be a lot of "My book doesn't look like that!" and a lot of students yelling "Help!" There may even be some students that go through the whole unit without taking notes because their book is messed up and they are not the type to ask for help. We went through the vocabulary sections, formulas section, and rectangular prisms section in our book on day 1.

After the notes, I handed out students the following surface area and volume of rectangular prisms homework. I put a QR code reader on many of the homework assignments this unit because I wanted students to check to see if they had the correct variables before plugging them into the equations. However, 95% of my students did not use the QR code because they claimed they did not need it. I wish they did, but I do LOVE their confidence!

Day 2: We started the day off by finding the surface area and volume of cubes. Students thought this was one of the easiest topics we have covered this year and this lesson did not take long at all.

After the notes, I had students break up into groups of 2 and create their own nets of rectangular prisms and cubes. Students were expected to find the surface area and volume of their net. I did not tell them how the net of each prism would look like and they magically figured it out by themselves :)

After the nets activity, students worked on the following surface area and volume of cubes homework. 

Day 3: As soon as students walked in, we went over how to find the surface area and volume of triangular prisms. Students seemed to struggle the most on this topic throughout the whole unit. Most mistakes were finding the incorrect area of the base (B).

After the notes, we completed the "Least to Greatest Prisms" activity currently on my "Classrooms Activity" page on my blog. 

I ended the day by passing out the following homework assignment over finding the surface area and volume of triangular prisms. This homework assignment had the lowest grades overall. 

Day 4:  We started off the Monday going over the most common missed questions on the quiz they took on Friday. The most missed questions were #4, 5, 8, and 11. I allow students to complete quiz corrections for half credit back (may take advantage of this and learn from their mistakes) and I am in the process of coming up with the perfect quiz correction form :). We also learned how to find the surface area and volume of hexagonal prisms. 

After the notes, students worked on this hexagonal prisms homework assignment for the little time they had left remaining.

Day 5: Pep Rally/Quiz day!! I didn't want to make extra copies this week so instead of making each student a copy of the "Are you Ready for Prisms Quiz", I had students follow along on their desks with an expo marker. I put a little shaving cream on the corner of their desk for students to use to clean it off. FYI: Shaving cream is a fun and inexpensive way to clean off students desk (also quite the air freshener). I had several students go to the board to solve it if I saw them solve it correctly on their desk. I made 3 separate forms (Form C is for my special ed/modified kiddos). You can finfd my quiz when you click here (Surface Area and Volume of Prisms Quiz).

Day 6: Computer lab day, HOORAY!! We headed down to the computer lab that is several feet from my classroom since we are not yet 1:1. I turned my surface area and volume task cards into a socrative quiz. My students love these socrative quizzes. For those who do not know where to go, click on and go to teacher login. If you would like to use it in your classroom, SOC-21518720.

Day 7: I had students create their own original prisms and then told students to change its dimensions. We discussed the effects of changing dimensions on area and volume. I printed some old task cards out 6 to a page and had students glue them down in their note-book for notes. Students told me that they would like a test just over this topic alone ;) After the task card notes, we completed a mini review of the whole unit that they will be tested over on day 9. 

Day 8: We were on a weird/modified schedule due to STAAR testing so I made a review worksheet for the classes that I did have for a short period of time. We did a "Plug & Chug" activity over finding the surface area and volume of prisms. Students have to start at A and find the answer to be able to solve the next problem. I love these because students seem to ask questions more since they do not want to get to the last problem just to have to go back and re-do all of their hard work. :)

Teaching Reflections.....
Students ROCKED this unit! I felt like the best teacher ever after looking over their test scores... I do not know if it was because it was too easy and I should have included cylinders in this unit.... Maybe, because the homework was so small that 90% of students turned in all of their assignments... Still just not sure! 

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

The other files can be found when you click here: 

P.S. Sorry if there are a lot of typos and/or grammar issues. My 3 year old son played Pillowtalk by Zayn on repeat while I was writing this post :))


  1. I love all the notes and activities that you have created. It makes me want to try more collaborative lessons with my kids next year. You have kinda inspired me to create my own as well. Thanks for all the great ideas. Keep up the good work.

  2. I love all the notes and activities that you have created. It makes me want to try more collaborative lessons with my kids next year. You have kinda inspired me to create my own as well. Thanks for all the great ideas. Keep up the good work.

  3. Thank you for the kind words! If you need any help with lessons, let me know :)

  4. I love the foldable!! Now if I could only figure out how to put it together!! Help!

  5. I'm enjoying your resources. Thanks so much for sharing them! I have imported 2 of the socrative quizzes to use later, but would love to use the Volume and Surface Area of Prisms Quiz. The code SOC-21518720 is not working for me. Is this the correct code #?

  6. Wow, this is amazing! Thanks so much for all your hard work on this blog!!

  7. I am truly enjoying your foldables! The students love it! I am starting with volume tomorrow so if you don't mind would you please send me the activity you completed on Day 3? My email address is


    1. The activity is posted on my Classroom Activities tab and it's the Prisms Least to Greatest Activity.

  8. Replies
    1. I just posted a file on this post on directions for setting up the flip-book.

  9. I am loving your blog! Great ideas! I'd love to try out b.socrative,the code you have listed is not working. Could you please check the code and post the correct one? I'd really appreciate it. Thank you!

  10. Hi! I love all of your work and was going to try and use the socrative activity with my class but I too am getting an error with the code. Is there a different code that I could use to access it? :)

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  12. This plug and chug activity is AMAZING! Is this available in your TPT store?

  13. On Day 4 you mentioned you went over the commonly missed questions from the quiz. Was that the quiz you mentioned in Day 5?

  14. I have implemented a few of the things you have made available, and you do an amazing job! I love your organization and examples. Well done and keep up the amazing work!

  15. Thank you for this post. I loved it.