Here's a fun math activity for kids that uses a square or rectangular box and some foam blocks (cubic units) to find the VOLUME of a RECTANGULAR PRISM.
Start by showing the students the small box and the cubes. Have them estimate how many cubes will fit in the box.
Have students start to fill the box by making one layer on the bottom. Let them count the cubes/ (cubic units). Give students a chance to change their estimate of how many cubes they think will fit in the box.
Have students add another layer.
Continue adding layers until the box is filled. Students could keep a count of how many cubes are in the box with each layer and can keep adjusting their estimate.
Students can construct the same shape without the box to better visualize all the cubes (cubic units) and layers (levels).
Students can try this activity with other boxes and then compare volumes. Which box has the smallest volume? Which has the largest volume? Can they find 2 different boxes with the same volume?
Younger students can count all the cubic units that fit inside particular boxes and older students could use the Formula to find the Volume of their Rectangular Prisms.
These foam cubes can be found at dollar and craft stores. Other manipulatives to use could be sugar cubes or unifix cubes. Even marshmallows (although not cubes) could be used with young students to learn about volume.