Virginia Mathematics Teacher
Virginia Standards of Learning include mathematical content related to the surface area and the volume of various geometric objects. In the seventh grade, “Students... solve problems involving volume and surface area” In the eighth grade, “Proportional reasoning is expounded upon as students solve a variety of problems. Students find the volume and surface area of more complex three dimensional figures”. In high school geometry, “The student... use[s] surface area and volume of three-dimensional objects to solve practical problems” (Virginia Department of Education, 2016). The challenge is to find scenarios that are engaging to students and keep them interested in the context of the mathematics presented to them. In this article, we present real-life situations related to the concepts of ratios, surface area, and volume that are different from the typical content presented in a traditional mathematics textbook. In our experience, students find these problems interesting and engaging. The tasks presented here have the potential to engage students in rigorous thinking about challenging content while using complex, nonalgorithmic thinking in order to gain conceptual understanding of the aforementioned mathematical topics.
Original Publication Citation
Adam, J. (2020). What's your sphericity index? Rationalizing surface area and volume. Virginia Mathematics Teacher, 46(2), 48-53. http://www.vctm.org/VOL-462
Adam, John A., "What's Your Sphericity Index? Rationalizing Surface Area and Volume" (2020). Mathematics & Statistics Faculty Publications. 174.