Volume

Here you will learn about volume, including what it is and how to calculate it to solve problems.

Students will first learn about volume as part of measurement and data in the 5 th grade, and continue to expand on their knowledge in geometry in the 6 th and 7 th grade.

What is volume?

Volume is a measurement of the amount of space there is within 3D shapes.

To calculate the volume of an object, there are various volume formulas.

Cube
Volume table image 1
\text { Volume }=a^3
Rectangular prism
Volume table image 2
\text{Volume}=l\times w\times h
Prism
Volume table image 3
\text{Volume}=\text{Area of base} \times \text{Length}
Cylinder
Volume table image 3
\text{Volume}=\pi r^2h

(\text { Volume }=\text { Area of base } \times \text { Height } )
Pyramid
Volume table image 5
\text{Volume}=\cfrac{1}{3} \, \times \text{Area of base} \times \text{Height}
Cone
Volume table image 6
\text{Volume}=\cfrac{1}{3} \, \pi r^2h

(\text{Volume}=\cfrac{1}{3} \, \times \text{Area of base} \times \text{Height})
Sphere
Volume table image 7
\text{Volume}=\cfrac{4}{3} \, \pi r^3

Step-by-step guide: Volume formula

Let’s look at each type of 3 -dimensional shape.

A prism is made up of 2 congruent bases, connected by lateral faces. For right prisms, the lateral sides are always rectangles.

For example,

Imagine filling this triangle prism fully with water. The total amount of water inside the prism would represent the volume of the prism in cubic units.

Volume Image 2 US

\text { Volume of prism }=\text { Area of the base } \times \text { height }

To calculate the volume of any prism, calculate the area of the base and times it by the height.

Step-by-step guide: Volume of a prism

The volume of a rectangular prism can be found by counting the cubic units with the prism.

Volume Image 3 US

This rectangular prism is made from 24 unit cubes – each side is 1 \, cm. That means the space within the rectangular prism, or the volume, is 24 \, cm^3.

You can prove that the volume is 24 \, cm^3 , by counting the total cubes, or by using the formula.

\begin{aligned}\text { Volume of a rectangular prism } & =\text { length } \times \text { width } \times \text { height } \\\\ & =6 \mathrm{~cm} \times 2 \mathrm{~cm} \times 2 \mathrm{~cm} \\\\ & =24 \mathrm{~cm}^3\end{aligned}

Step-by-step guide: Volume of a rectangular prism

To find the volume of a cube, use the volume of a cube formula. The formula is similar to l \times w \times h , but since all sides of a cube are the same length, you can just multiply one side length, a , three times: \text {Volume }=a^{3} .

For example,

Volume Image 4 US

The volume of this cube is:

\begin{aligned}& \text { volume }=a^3 \\\\ & \text { volume }=5^3 \\\\ & \text { volume }=125 \mathrm{~ft}^3\end{aligned}

Step-by-step guide: Volume of a cube

Step-by-step guide: Volume of a pyramid

What is volume?

What is volume?

Common Core State Standards

How does this relate to 5 th, 6 th and 7 th grade math?

  • Grade 5: Measurement and Data (5.MD.C.5b)
    Apply the formulas V=l \times w \times h and V=b \times h for rectangular prisms to find volumes of right rectangular prisms with whole number edge lengths in the context of solving real world and mathematical problems.

  • Grade 6: Geometry (6.G.A.2)
    Find the volume of a right rectangular prism with fractional edge lengths by packing it with unit cubes of the appropriate unit fraction edge lengths, and show that the volume is the same as would be found by multiplying the edge lengths of the prism.

    Apply the formulas V=l \times w \times h and V=b \times h to find volumes of right rectangular prisms with fractional edge lengths in the context of solving real-world and mathematical problems.

  • Grade 7: Geometry (7.G.B.6)
    Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, volume and surface area of two- and three-dimensional objects composed of triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, cubes, and right prisms.

How to calculate volume

In order to calculate volume:

  1. Write down the formula.
  2. Substitute the values into the formula.
  3. Calculate the volume of the shape.
  4. Write the answer, including the units.

[FREE] Volume Check for Understanding Quiz (Grade 6 to 8)

[FREE] Volume Check for Understanding Quiz (Grade 6 to 8)

[FREE] Volume Check for Understanding Quiz (Grade 6 to 8)

Use this quiz to check your grade 6 to 8 students’ understanding of volume. 10+ questions with answers covering a range of 6th, 7th and 8th grade volume topics to identify areas of strength and support!

DOWNLOAD FREE
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[FREE] Volume Check for Understanding Quiz (Grade 6 to 8)

[FREE] Volume Check for Understanding Quiz (Grade 6 to 8)

[FREE] Volume Check for Understanding Quiz (Grade 6 to 8)

Use this quiz to check your grade 6 to 8 students’ understanding of volume. 10+ questions with answers covering a range of 6th, 7th and 8th grade volume topics to identify areas of strength and support!

DOWNLOAD FREE

Volume examples

Example 1: volume of a triangular prism

Calculate the volume of the triangular prism:

Volume Image 5 US

  1. Write down the formula.

\text { Volume of prism }=\text { Area of the base } \times \text { height }

2Substitute the values into the formula.

A triangular prism has two congruent triangular bases connected by lateral faces – so the base is the triangle. The height of the prism is 7 \, cm.

\begin{aligned}\text { Volume of prism }&=\text { Area of the base (triangle }) \, \times \, \text { height of prism } \\\\ & =\cfrac{1}{2} \times 3 \times 4 \times \, 7 \\\\ &\end{aligned}

3Calculate the volume of the shape.

\begin{aligned}\text { Volume } & =\cfrac{1}{2} \, \times 3 \, \times 4 \, \times 7 \\\\ & =6 \, \times \, 7 \\\\ & =42\end{aligned}

4Write the answer, including the units.

The measurements on this triangular prism are in centimeters, so the volume is measured in cubic centimeters.

\text { Volume }=42 \mathrm{~cm}^3

Example 2: volume of a cube – fractions

Calculate the volume of the cube:

Volume Image 6 US

Write down the formula.

Substitute the values into the formula.

Calculate the volume of the shape.

Write the answer, including the units.

Example 3: volume of a pentagonal prism

Calculate the volume of the prism:

Volume Image 7 US

Write down the formula.

Substitute the values into the formula.

Calculate the volume of the shape.

Write the answer, including the units.

Example 4: missing dimension

The volume of the rectangular prism is 108 \mathrm{~cm}^3.

Calculate the value of x .

Volume Image 8 US

Write down the formula.

Substitute the values into the formula.

Calculate the volume of the shape.

Write the answer, including the units.

Example 5: missing dimension

The volume of the square pyramid is 32 \text { inches }^3.

Calculate the height of the pyramid.

Volume Image 9 US

Write down the formula.

Substitute the values into the formula.

Calculate the volume of the shape.

Write the answer, including the units.

Example 6: volume of a compound shape

Calculate the volume of the compound 3D shape.

Volume Image 10 US

Write down the formula.

Substitute the values into the formula.

Calculate the volume of the shape.

Write the answer, including the units.

Teaching tips for volume

  • Have students create or identify examples of cubic units to be displayed in the classroom. For example, most ones cubes included in math manipulative kits are 1 centimeter cubed. Students can take 12 rulers and tape them together to form a cubic foot, 12 yard sticks to form a cubic yard or 12 meter sticks to form a cubic meter.

    Activities like this give students a visual understanding of how big or small different cubic units are and can also lead to discussions about why labeling cubic units is important.

  • Incorporate interactive demonstrations to show what volume is and why the formulas work. For example, using the volume of a container. Start by filling the container with water and asking students to estimate the volume of water within it.

    Then measure the volume of water in mL and use the dimensions of the container to calculate the volume in centimeters cubed. Use the findings or student thinking to guide a conversation about what this activity shows us about volume.

  • Uses quizzes, worksheets, or project assignments to provide timely and constructive feedback to address any misconceptions or errors when calculating volume or using the volume formulas.

Easy mistakes to make

  • Using the incorrect units
    Volume is always measured in cubic units. Not including units or including the incorrect units does not accurately represent volume as a measurement.
    For example,
    The volume of the following shape is measured in cubic inches, since the side lengths are measured in inches.

    Volume Image 14 US

  • Using the volume formula with different units
    All measurements of a shape being used in the volume formula need to be in the same units before calculating the volume.

  • Confusing the formulas for calculating volume
    There are many different formulas used for volume, and it is easy to get them confused. Always think about whether or not the formula you are using makes sense.
    For example,
    The formula for the volume of a triangular prism is \cfrac{1}{2} \times b \times h \times p r i s m \text { height }.
    Within the formula is the area of a triangle (\cfrac{1}{2} \times b \times h), which is the base and then that base area times the height. If you wanted to find the area of a rectangular prism, you should recognize that there is no triangle, so instead the area of the base would need to be l \times w .

    See also: Volume of a triangular prism

Practice volume questions

1. Calculate the volume of this pyramid.

 

Volume Image 15 US

30.75 \text { inches}^3
GCSE Quiz False

15.375 \text { inches}^3
GCSE Quiz False

31.27 \text { inches}^3
GCSE Quiz False

10. 25 \text { inches}^3
GCSE Quiz True

The volume formula to calculate the volume of the pyramid is:

 

\text{Volume} =\cfrac{1}{3}\times \text{Area of base}\times \text{Height}.

 

You need to find the area of the base of the pyramid.

 

A=2.5 \times 3=7.5

 

\begin{aligned} \text{ Volume }&=\cfrac{1}{3} \times \text { Area of base } \times \text { Height } \\\\ & =\cfrac{1}{3} \times 7.5 \times 4.1 \\\\ & =10.25\end{aligned}

 

The volume of the pyramid is 10.25 \text { inches}^3.

2. The volume of this rectangular prism is 780 \mathrm{~mm}^3. Calculate the length of the missing side.

 

Volume Image 16 US

13 \, mm
GCSE Quiz True

13 \, cm
GCSE Quiz False

15 \, mm
GCSE Quiz False

15 \, cm
GCSE Quiz False

The volume formula to calculate the volume of the rectangular prism is  \text{Volume} =l\times w\times h.

 

You need to substitute the values given, using x for the unknown length, into the volume formula.

 

\begin{aligned}\text { Volume }&=l \times w \times h \\\\ 780 &=x \times 6 \times 10 \\\\ 780 &=x \times 60\end{aligned}

 

The missing length is x=780 \div 60=13.

 

The missing length of the rectangular prism is 13 \, mm.

3. Calculate the volume of this triangular prism.

 

Volume Image 17 US

2,184 \mathrm{~m}^3
GCSE Quiz False

4,368 \mathrm{~m}^3
GCSE Quiz False

436.8 \mathrm{~m}^3
GCSE Quiz False

218.4 \mathrm{~m}^3
GCSE Quiz True

A triangular prism has two congruent triangular bases connected by lateral faces – so the base is the triangle.

 

\begin{aligned}\text { Area of triangle } &=\cfrac{1}{2} \times b \times h \\\\ &=\cfrac{1}{2} \times 6 \times 8 \\\\ &=24\end{aligned}

 

The area of the triangle is 24 \mathrm{~m}^2.

 

The height of the prism is 9.1 \, m.

 

\begin{aligned}\text { Volume of prism } & =\text { Area of the base } \times \text { height } \\\\ & =24 \times 9.1 \\\\ & =218.4\end{aligned}

 

The measurements on this triangular prism are in meters, so the volume is measured in cubic meters.

 

\text { Volume }=218.4 \mathrm{~m}^3

4. Calculate the volume of this hexagonal prism.

 

Volume Image 18 US

98.4 \mathrm{ft}^3
GCSE Quiz False

61.2 \mathrm{ft}^3
GCSE Quiz False

37.2 \mathrm{ft}^3
GCSE Quiz False

74.4 \mathrm{ft}^3
GCSE Quiz True

Calculate the volume of the prism:

 

\text { Volume of prism }=\text { Area of the base } \times \text { height }

 

A hexagonal prism has two congruent hexagonal bases connected by lateral faces – so the base is a hexagon. The area of the hexagon is 12 \mathrm{ft}^2.

 

The height of the prism is 6.2 \, ft.

 

\begin{aligned}\text { Volume of prism } & =\text { Area of the base } \times \text { height } \\\\ & =12 \times 6.2 \\\\ & =74.4\end{aligned}

 

The measurements on this prism are in feet, so the volume is measured in cubic feet.

 

\text { Volume }=74.4 \mathrm{ft}^3

5. Calculate the volume of this triangular prism.

 

Volume Image 19 US

473 \mathrm{ft}^3
GCSE Quiz False

4,730 \mathrm{ft}^3
GCSE Quiz False

2,365 \mathrm{ft}^3
GCSE Quiz False

236.5 \mathrm{ft}^3
GCSE Quiz True

A triangular prism has two congruent triangular bases connected by lateral faces – so the base is the triangle.

 

\begin{aligned}\text { Area of triangle } & =\cfrac{1}{2} \times b \times h \\\\ & =\cfrac{1}{2} \times 5 \times 8.6 \\\\ & =21.5\end{aligned}

 

The area of the triangle is 21.5 \mathrm{ft}^2.

 

The height of the prism is 11 \, ft.

 

\begin{aligned}\text { Volume of prism } & =\text { Area of the base } \times \text { height } \\\\ &=21.5 \times 11 \\\\ & =236.5\end{aligned}

 

The measurements on this triangular prism are in feet, so the volume is measured in cubic feet.

 

\text { Volume }=236.5 \mathrm{ft}^3

6. Calculate the volume of the shape below.

 

Volume Image 20 US

8,821 \, \cfrac{111}{125} \mathrm{~cm}^3
GCSE Quiz False

551 \, \cfrac{46}{125} \mathrm{~cm}^3
GCSE Quiz False

726 \, \cfrac{24}{125} \mathrm{~cm}^3
GCSE Quiz True

174 \, \cfrac{309}{375} \mathrm{~cm}^3
GCSE Quiz False

The volume of the rectangular prism is:

 

\begin{aligned} \text { Volume }&=l \times w \times h \\\\ & =8 \, \cfrac{1}{5} \, \times 8 \, \cfrac{1}{5} \, \times 8 \, \cfrac{1}{5} \\\\ & =\cfrac{41}{5} \, \times \cfrac{41}{5} \, \times \cfrac{41}{5} \\\\ & =\cfrac{68,921}{125} \\\\ & =551 \, \cfrac{46}{125}\end{aligned}

 

The height of the pyramid is 16-8 \, \cfrac{1}{5} \, =7 \, \cfrac{4}{5}.

 

The volume of the pyramid is

 

\begin{aligned}\text { Volume } &=\cfrac{1}{3} \, \times \text { Area of base } \times \text { Height } \\\\ & =\cfrac{1}{3} \, \times 8 \, \cfrac{1}{5} \times 8 \, \cfrac{1}{5} \, \times 7 \, \cfrac{4}{5} \\\\ & =\cfrac{1}{3} \, \times \cfrac{41}{5} \, \times \cfrac{41}{5} \, \times \cfrac{39}{5} \\\\ & =\cfrac{65,559}{375} \\\\ & =174 \, \cfrac{309}{375}\end{aligned}

 

The total volume can be found by adding the two volumes together.

 

\begin{aligned}\text { Total Volume } &=551 \, \cfrac{46}{125}+174 \, \cfrac{309}{375} \\\\ & =551 \, \cfrac{138}{375}+174 \, \cfrac{309}{375} \\\\ & =725 \, \cfrac{447}{375} \\\\ & =726 \, \cfrac{72}{375}\mathrm{~cm}^3\end{aligned}

Volume FAQs

How do you calculate the volume of a cuboid?

The volume of a cuboid is found by multiplying the length, width and height. It is the same as a rectangular prism, because they are the same shape – they are synonyms.

How do you calculate the volume of a cone and the volume of a cylinder?

Both of these shapes have a circular base, so you need to know how to find the area of a circle. Once you know how to find the area of a circle, you can use the following formulas to calculate the volume of each: cone is \cfrac{1}{3} \pi r^2 h and cylinder is \pi r^2 h.

See also: Volume of a cylinder

See also: Volume of a cone


How is the definition of volume different from the definition of area?

Area is a measurement of two-dimensional space and volume is a measurement of three-dimensional space inside of three-dimensional shapes.

What is the metric system?

The metric system is a system of measurements that include millimeter, centimeter, meter, kilometer and more. It is a base 10 measurement system that is used throughout the world.

What unit is volume measured in?

A volume unit is always cubed, since it involves three dimensions – length, width and height. There are many units used to measure volume. For example, cm³ and ft³. The volume of liquids inside of an object is referred to as capacity and is often expressed in units like liters or gallons.

The next lessons are

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