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Supporting Australian Mathematics Project: Middle years.

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Year 8

Measurement and Geometry

Volumes of prisms

The volume of a solid is the quantity of the space enclosed.

Many of the names of the figures and solids whose area and volume we find come from the Greek. For example, trapezium (despite the Latin ending) comes from the Greek word for table, while prism is derived from a Greek word meaning to saw (since the cross-sections, or cuts, are congruent). Also the word cylinder is from a Greek word meaning to roll. The ancient Greeks were the first to systematically investigate the areas and volumes of plane figures and solids.

The prisms investigated here are common shapes and are frequently used in packaging. Builders and architects also use simple shapes such as these to work out volume of building materials, such as concrete, in their projects. Similarly, road surfaces can be thought of as a slim rectangular prism when estimating the quantity of tar needed to surface a stretch of highway.