South Orangetown Central School District

Fifth grade students with animal volume project

​​Fifth graders in Cottage Lane Elementary School teacher Jaime Tan’s class have been studying the volume of rectangular prisms and as a culminating activity, they are participating in a project-based learning project called “The Great Zoo Escape.”

Using recycled boxes of all shapes and sizes, students worked in groups to design an animal they wanted to create—ranging from an alligator to a llama. In their group, students had to calculate the volume of each part of the body in order to find the total composite volume. Students then had to assemble their animals, wrap them in paper and decorate them. Once their animals are complete, they will incorporate some science into their project as they research their chosen animal’s habitat to ensure they create a suitable habitat based on their needs. This directly leads into their study of ecosystems as part of their current science unit.

Students have spent several days assembling their animals and designing a suitable habitat based on factors such as their size and dietary needs before they display their animals and share their projects with their classmates. “This project is a great opportunity for students to share what they learned throughout the volume unit in a creative and fun way,” said Tan. “It is an authentic way for students to connect math concepts with the real world.”