## How Many Cones Does It Take To Fill a Sphere?

In this **3 act math task**, the teacher will show short video clips to help students understand where the **Volume of a Sphere formula** comes from. Similar to the last Volume 3 Act Math Task: Prisms and Pyramids, the intention has been to leave Act 1 of each set very vague to allow for students to take the problem in more than one direction. The teacher can bring light to the learning goal of showing where the formula for volume of a sphere comes from after watching Act 1.

## Act 1: What’s the question?

My students usually explore the relationship between the volume of a prism and a pyramid, so this activity is typically considered an extension.

To begin, I show students this image:

Students typically make a connection between a sphere, cylinder and cone and I ask them to justify why they think this would seem logical (i.e.: all three have a radius/diameter, seem “round,” no vertices, etc.). While we could show a relationship between the sphere, cylinder, and cone, I show them this video to focus in on just one relationship:

I gave my students some time to chat with a partner and come up with some possible questions for this video. Since they had completed the Prisms and Pyramids exploration the previous day, most jump straight to volume. However, other options are possible.

As most expect, we narrow the question down to:

How many cones would it take to fill the sphere?

Students then have a moment to come up with their best guess and we share out and record the guesses in class.

Many students will say “3” since they noticed a pattern in the relationship between all of the prisms and pyramids explored the previous day.

## Act 2: Giving More Information

Students then watch this video:

I then allow students to chat with a partner and consider “updating” their guess based on the new information given to them.

## Act 3: Experience the Answer

Students will then watch Act 3 in order to determine how close they were to the actual number.

# Visual Derivation of the Volume of a Sphere Formula

## Making Connections Between Volume of a Cone and Sphere

I then have a discussion with students and even let them try finding the volume of a sphere using the volume of a cone formula they used the previous day. This gives some additional practice with the volume of a cone formula and builds confidence that they already know how to find the volume of a sphere based on prior knowledge.

We then try to make a connection between the formula for volume of a cone and simplify the equation to give us a more efficient route to find the volume of a sphere:

## Step-By-Step Slide Deck

See the step-by-step slide deck that I built in Apple Keynote:

If you’re interested in creating animations for your own math class, download Keynote here:

## Download The Task and Resources

Grab all the videos, images and resources by clicking download below:

Download

## New to Using 3 Act Math Tasks?

Download the 2-page printable 3 Act Math Tip Sheet to ensure that you have the best start to your journey using 3 Act math Tasks to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in your math classroom!

## Share With Your Learning Community:

## About Kyle Pearce

I’m Kyle Pearce and I am a former high school math teacher. I’m now the K-12 Mathematics Consultant with the Greater Essex County District School Board, where I uncover creative ways to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in mathematics. Read more.

Access Other Real World Math Tasks

## Search More 3 Act Math Tasks

Grade 2 [Measurement - M1, Number Sense and Numeration - NS1, Number Sense and Numeration - NS2, Number Sense and Numeration - NS3]

Grade 3 [Measurement - M1, Number Sense and Numeration - NS1, Number Sense and Numeration - NS3]

Grade 4 [Measurement - M1, Number Sense and Numeration - NS1, Number Sense and Numeration - NS3, Patterning and Algebra - PA2]

Grade 5 [Measurement - M1, Measurement - M2, Number Sense and Numeration - NS1, Number Sense and Numeration - NS3, Patterning and Algebra - PA2]

Grade 6 [Data Management and Probability - DP3, Measurement - M1, Measurement - M2, Number Sense and Numeration - NS1, Number Sense and Numeration - NS2, Number Sense and Numeration - NS3, Patterning and Algebra - PA1, Patterning and Algebra - PA2]

Grade 7 [Data Management and Probability - DP3, Geometry and Spatial Sense - GS1, Measurement - M1, Measurement - M2, Number Sense and Numeration - NS1, Number Sense and Numeration - NS2, Number Sense and Numeration - NS3, Patterning and Algebra - PA1, Patterning and Algebra - PA2]

Grade 8 [Data Management and Probability - DP1, Data Management and Probability - DP3, Geometry and Spatial Sense - GS2, Measurement - M1, Measurement - M2, Number Sense and Numeration - NS1, Number Sense and Numeration - NS2, Number Sense and Numeration - NS3, Patterning and Algebra - PA1, Patterning and Algebra - PA2]

MAP4C [Mathematical Models - MM1, Mathematical Models - MM2, Mathematical Models - MM3]

MAT1LMAT2LMBF3C [Data Management - DM1, Data Management - DM2, Geometry and Trigonometry - GT1, Geometry and Trigonometry - GT2, Mathematical Models - MM1, Mathematical Models - MM2, Mathematical Models - MM3]

MCF3M [Exponential Functions - EF2, Quadratic Functions - QF1, Quadratic Functions - QF2, Quadratic Functions - QF3, Trigonometric Functions - TF1, Trigonometric Functions - TF3]

MCR3U [Characteristics of Functions - CF1, Characteristics of Functions - CF2, Exponential Functions - EF2, Exponential Functions - EF3, Trigonometric Functions - TF3]

MCT4C [Exponential Functions - EF1, Trigonometric Functions - TF3]

MCV4U [Derivatives and Their Applications - DA2]

MDM4U [Counting and Probability - CP2, Organization of Data For Analysis - DA2, Probability Distributions - PD1, Statistical Analysis - SA1, Statistical Analysis - SA2]

MEL4EMFM1P [Linear Relations - LR1, Linear Relations - LR2, Linear Relations - LR3, Linear Relations - LR4, Measurement and Geometry - MG1, Measurement and Geometry - MG2, Measurement and Geometry - MG3, Number Sense and Algebra - NA1, Number Sense and Algebra - NA2]

MFM2P [Measurement and Trigonometry - MT1, Measurement and Trigonometry - MT2, Measurement and Trigonometry - MT3, Modelling Linear Relations - LR1, Modelling Linear Relations - LR2, Modelling Linear Relations - LR3, Quadratic Relations in y = ax^2 + bx + c Form - QR1, Quadratic Relations in y = ax^2 + bx + c Form - QR2, Quadratic Relations in y = ax^2 + bx + c Form - QR3]

MHF4U [Characteristics of Functions - CF3, Exponential and Logarithmic Functions - EL2, Exponential and Logarithmic Functions - EL3]

MPM1D [AG3, Analytic Geometry - AG1, Analytic Geometry - AG2, LR1, LR2, LR3, MG1, MG2, MG3, NA1, Number Sense and Algebra - NA2]

MPM2D [AG1, AG2, AG3, QR2, Quadratic Relations - QR3, Quadratic Relations - QR4, T2, T3]

Functions [F-BF.1, F-BF.3, F-IF.4, F-LE.1, F-LE.2, F-LE.3, F-TF.5]

Geometry [G-C.5, G-C.8, G-C.9, G-GMD.3, G-GMD.4, G-GPE.4, G-GPE.5, G-GPE.7, G-MG.1, G-MG.2, G-SRT.11]

Grade 1 [1.NBT.4, 1.OA.1]

Grade 2 [2.NBT.5, 2.OA.2]

Grade 3 [3.NBT.2, 3.NF.1, 3.NF.2, 3.NF.3, 3.OA.1, 3.OA.5, 3.OA.9]

Grade 4 [4-MD.3, 4.MD.1, 4.MD.2, 4.NBT.6, 4.NF.3, 4.NF.5, 4.NF.6, 4.OA.1]

Grade 5 [5.MD.1, 5.MD.3, 5.MD.4, 5.MD.5, 5.NBT.2, 5.NBT.3, 5.NBT.6, 5.NBT.7, 5.NF.1, 5.NF.2, 5.NF.3, 5.NF.4, 5.NF.5, 5.OA.1, 5.OA.2, 5.OA.3]

Grade 6 [6.EE.1, 6.EE.2, 6.EE.5, 6.EE.6, 6.EE.7, 6.G.1, 6.G.2, 6.NS.1, 6.NS.3, 6.NS.6, 6.RP.1, 6.RP.2, 6.RP.3]

Grade 7 [7.EE.3, 7.EE.4, 7.G.3, 7.G.4, 7.G.6, 7.RP.1, 7.RP.3, 7.SP.2, 7.SP.5, 7.SP.6]

Grade 8 [8.EE.1, 8.EE.5, 8.EE.6, 8.EE.7, 8.EE.8, 8.F.2, 8.F.3, 8.F.4, 8.F.5, 8.G.5, 8.G.6, 8.G.7, 8.G.9, 8.SP.1]

Practice [MP.1, MP.2, MP.3, MP.4, MP.6, MP.7]

Statistics & Probability [S-ID.6, S-MD.4]

Very good. Presentation and experiment. Do you have other topics.

The children and I truly appreciated this presentation. It sparked the interest a lot because of the visual learning and discovery factor in this lesson. Thank you for sharing!