Volume of a Cylinder Games

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

If your class is studying 3D shapes, learning how to calculate the volume of a cylinder is important. Use these engaging games to help students figure out how to find the volume of cylinders.

How Much Room?

Whether it's soup in a can, tennis balls in their canister, or grain in a silo, someone had to create each cylinder to with a specific volume to hold their contents. Finding the volume of a cylinder is important in fields like manufacturing where people create cylinders to meet certain specifications for volume.

Using interactive, multi-sensory games to help students practice finding the volume of cylinders can not only be fun, but also make the concept morememorable. Let's look at games to help students calculate the volume of cylinders.

Speed Measurements

Have students find the volume of real-life cylinders in this team game.


  • Cylinders of different sizes (i.e. soup cans, soda cans, chip canisters, etc.)
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Rulers

Teacher Directions

  • Show students a cylinder, such as a soup or soda can. Model for the students how to measure the radius of the cylinder's base and the height using a ruler. Discuss how to find the volume of a cylinder using the formula: V = ?r²h.
  • Divide the class into teams.
  • Give each team five cylinders, rulers, chart paper, and markers.
  • Have the teams measure the radius and height for each cylinder with their rulers and calculate each cylinder's volume on their chart paper.
  • The first team to correctly measure the volume of all of their cylinders wins.

Discussion Questions

  • Why are measurements for radius and height used in calculating the volume of a cylinder?
  • Why might someone need to calculate the volume of a cylinder?

Find the Match

Engage students in this kinesthetic game that uses ping-pong balls and canisters to help them calculate the volume of cylinders.


  • Cylindrical canisters
  • Ping-pong balls
  • Construction paper
  • Tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Dry-erase boards
  • Dry-erase markers

Teacher Directions


  • Prior to the game, collect cylindrical canisters, like those used to sell sets of tennis balls.
  • Tape construction paper around each canister to cover the outside.
  • Using a marker, write a random measurement for a cylinder's radius (ex. r = 3 in.) and height (ex. h = 10 in.)
  • Collect ping-pong balls. On each ping-pong ball, write a measurement of volume for a cylinder that corresponds to each of the measurements on the cylinders you created (ex. V = 90? in.³). Create multiple ping-pong balls with the same measurements, so each team can have ping-pong balls with measurements to match each cylinder during the game.
    • To help distinguish between teams' balls, consider marking them by color or number, with each team assigned a different color or number.


  • Review with students how to find the volume of a cylinder.
  • Divide the class into teams.
  • Give each team dry-erase boards, dry-erase markers, and a set of the ping-pong balls you created. Place the cylinders you created at different locations around the room.
  • When you say 'go,' teams will calculate the volumes for the measurements on the cylinders around the room using their dry-erase boards. They will then find the corresponding ping pong balls and race to place the correct ping pong ball into its matching cylinder.
  • The first team to correctly match all their ping-pong balls wins.

Discussion Questions

  • How did your team approach this game?
  • Could cylinders with different radii and height measurements have the same volumes? How?

Missing Measurement

Have students find the missing measurement in this partner game.


  • Picture of a silo
  • List of real-life word problems
  • Dry-erase boards
  • Dry-erase markers

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