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Measuring Volume of 3-D Shapes

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Want a fun way to measure volume of 3-D shapes?  We have this cool set of geometric shapes that my kids love to play with. Thy play with them on our light table, fill them with rice and fill them with water. They were wondering one day which one would old the most rice or water, so I decided it was time to test it out. I love it when my kids thoughts and ideas inspire projects and learning activities.

Measuring volume of 3-d shapes with water

This is part of the A-Z Guide to Understanding STEM and I am covering the letter V today. Now, WHY does understanding volume matter in regards to STEM?  Volume is a basic Math topic.  I think of cooking initially when I think of volume, but it is also important in engineering, for instance engineering a rocket or a car, you would need to know the volume of a gas tank to know how far it could drive between fill-ups. It would also be important in construction for pouring concrete. It is an important concept that is great for kids to understand from an early age!


How We Found the Volume of 3-D Shapes With Water:

We wrote out the names of each of the shapes- this was great for my son to learn their names!  And, just by looking, we made a guess about which we thought would hold the most water and which would hold the least amount.

measuring volume of 3-d shapes with water

Then we filled a pitcher with water and poured water into each shape. (Pouring is a great skill for young kids to learn as well!!)

After filling each one we poured it into a measuring cup to see how much water it would hold. Then recorded it on our paper.

measuring volume of 3-d geometric shapes

It was so much fun to see how much each would hold. Some were surprising to us! Not all were the way we guessed. Appearances can be deceiving!

volume of shapes with water

The cones and pyramids seemed like they would hold more than they did in particular. But my kids did not consider the fact that they were tapered at the top.


volume of 3-d geometric shapes

Want more 3-D Shape Ideas?  Check out this post on How to Make 3-D Paper Shapes!

Also you may like my Area & Perimeter City post!

This is part of the A-Z Guide to Understanding STEM series from Little Bins for Little Hands.  Check it out- it is an AMAZING resource!


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  1. How awesome! I have this exact same set sitting on my shelf and my kindergartener is beside himself with anticipation for when they come out. I’m a bit behind in our shape program, though. I had told him we’d get them out when we got to the three dimensional shapes, but I may break down and do it before then.

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