Composite Volume and the Google Suite

I am always looking for ways to integrate tech into my math lessons.  For some reason, I find that particular subject so just hard to use tech in a way that the kids are producing versus consuming.  So this unit, as we embarked on composite volume, I found a way to have the students use Google Drawings and Google Slides to create their own composite volume figures and, ultimately, create an interactive bulletin board that will give all the students practice finding the volume of composite figures.

My students had been practicing finding the volume of composite figures for about two days.  They basically just were using worksheets from the math book and I felt that they were ready for a bit of a challenge.  In the past, we have used Lego bricks to practice with additive composite volume (see that post here)  But this time, I thought we could change it up with tech. We broke out the chrome books and the students opened to Google Drawings.   Drawings is basically just like Slides, however you have the option to actually save your creation as a png, which has a transparent background.  This was a feature that would come in handy later on.

On their Drawings space the students were instructed to create a composite volume figure using the rectangular prism shape.  They played around with the shapes until they came up with a unique design that contained 4-6 prisms layered so that they looked connected as one shape.  

Next, the students used their rulers and measured the lengths, widths, and heights of each of the rectangular prisms in the figures they created.  (I am sure there is an online tool I could have found to get them to measure, but honestly, the rulers were easy ;) )  The students then used text boxes to label the measures on their Drawing.

Once the Drawing was completed, the students actually found the volume of their figure either on the side space on their Drawing (in the "off" space on the side of the work mat) or on a piece of paper.  Most chose to use paper, to be honest, because sometimes, paper is better.

Now that the students worked on one composite volume shape, I wanted them to work on each others as well.  To do this, the kids began creating their own piece of an interactive bulletin board that we will {eventually} put up in our room (after testing of course.)

Then, the kids saved their drawings as a png.  File > Download as > png

Next, they inserted the drawing into the first page of a template that I created for them on Google Slides.  Basically, there was a square space denoted by a black line so that the kids had a work space to work with.  

On the second page of the template, the kids recreated all their math work as a sort of answer key for the work.  I wanted the to label and organize their info in a clear and coherent manner so that all steps would be represented and easy to understand.  

Then, they cut out the squares and mounted it on a folded piece of construction paper so that the "problem" (which was their composite figure) was on the front and the "answer" was on the inside.  This whole thing then will hang on a bulletin board for their fellow classmates to work on.  

Overall, I love how this all came out.  It took a total of 2 days to complete, the kids were totally into it, and they all seemed to really internalize how to find composite volume (which was the point of the whole thing.)

How have you integrated tech into math in a productive vs consumptive way?


1 comment

  1. Hi Stephanie! What a great idea! I'm so excited to do this with my 5th graders. Quick question ... How do you add rectangular prisms to a Google Drawing? I can find the flat shapes but not the prisms. Thanks so much!


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