Task:
As
a class construct a cubic metre from newspaper and masking
tape.
People
are often amazed at just how big a cubic metre is. esp those
raised on a steady diet of text book exercises.
What
you need:
Lots of
Newspaper, some masking tape and lots of team work.
Initial
Demonstration  tightly roll a sheet of newspaper into a long cylinder by
rolling it corner to corner.
Masking
tape it so it stays together. The properties of the paper change
so it becomes strong and rigid. The paper can now be used as
a construction simple construction material.
Procedure:
1. Demonstrate
and practise rolling the newspaper into long, tight sticks.
2. Use a small piece of masking tape to prevent the paper from
unfurling. (You will need to experiment
with where to place the tape & how much to use).
3. Test several of the initial 'sticks' to see which will be
good to construct with. (I've found
the tighter wound the better)
4. Explain that each group will be given 30 minutes to create
a square EXACTLY one metre
by one metre. The square must have an X shaped brace included
to ensure the shape always
remains square.
5.Split
the class into 6 groups, one group for each face of the cube.
6. Groups construct their face.
6. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth select one group
to bind each square face so they form a single cubic metre. (I find it works best if the teacher
has a bit of input at this stage)
7. Display the cubic metre by hanging it from the roof for all
to see.
Helping
Out With the Group Work
Discuss
Subtasking  Makes for efficient task completion. This can be
done before, during or after the session.
Personally
I tend to do the chat about subtasking when the fights start
breaking out. Even going as far as to assign the group rolls.
e.g.
someone to measure
each person rolls a certain amount of sticks
people to hold
people to use the tape
(Often
the group work skills are the most important things students
take away from this activity)
A cubic metre
is much bigger & heavier than you would initially think. Explore
how much.
Ideas
to Explore the Concept of Cubic Metres

estimate how many 1st graders will fit in a cubic metre.
 test how many 1st graders will fit in a cubic metre
 estimate how many cubic metres would cover the floor of your
classroom.
 estimate
how many cubic centimetres in a cubic metre?
 work out how to calculate how many cubic metres will cover
the floor of your classroom.
 estimate how many cubic metres would fill your classroom
 calculate how many cubic metres will cover your classroom
floor
If a swimming pool was 2 metres deep, 100 metres long and 5
metres wide. How many cubic metres of water will it hold.
 How many cubic centimetres are in a cubic metre?
 If 1 cubic centimetre of water ways one gram, how much does
a cubic metre of water weigh.

If you swim 2 metres below the surface what is the approximate
weight of the water above you?

If the bottom of the cubic metre is 100cm by 100cm, how many
cubic centimetres would it take to cover the bottom of the cubic
metre.
Write
Signs with questions and findings about cubic metres then stick
these to the outside of the cube.