Lesson Plan

Calculating Surface Area and Volume in the Real World


Grade Levels

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Assessment Anchors

Eligible Content

Big Ideas




The lesson focuses on attainment of procedural knowledge and conceptual understanding, related to surface area and volume. Students will:

  • draw nets from rectangular prisms, in order to solve surface area problems.
  • calculate the surface area and volume of rectangular prisms and cubes.
  • solve real-world problems, involving surface area and volume, using a variety of problem-solving strategies.

Essential Questions

  • How can recognizing repetition or regularity assist in solving problems more efficiently?
  • How are spatial relationships, including shape and dimension, used to draw, construct, model, and represent real-world situations or solve problems?
  • How can the application of the attributes of geometric shapes support mathematical reasoning and problem solving?
  • How can geometric properties and theorems be used to describe, model, and analyze situations?


  • Congruent Figures: Figures that have the same size and shape. Congruent angles have the same measure; congruent segments have the same length.
  • Cylinder: A solid that has two parallel, congruent bases (usually circular) connected with a curved side.
  • Net: A two-dimensional shape that can be folded to create a three-dimensional figure.
  • Prism: A three-dimensional solid that has two congruent and parallel faces that are polygons. The remaining faces are rectangles. Prisms are named by their bases.
  • Surface Area: The sum of the areas of all of the faces of a three-dimensional figure.
  • Volume: The amount of space found within a solid.


90–120 minutes

Prerequisite Skills


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Related Materials & Resources

The possible inclusion of commercial websites below is not an implied endorsement of their products, which are not free, and are not required for this lesson plan.

  • Interactives from Annenberg Media



  • Wolfram Demonstrations



  • Small group practice worksheets


  • Expansion activity


Formative Assessment


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Instructional Procedures


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