Candy Land

By Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, August 22, 2006

Grade Level

  • Middle School


  • Product Design

Subject Area

  • Mathematics

Lesson Time

One or two fifty-minute class periods


In this activity students will pretend that they have been hired by a candy manufacturer to design a box for a new product they are beginning to market. The manufacturer has pre-determined the volume of the candy box. It is the students' job to use their math skills to design a new and innovative box.

National Standards

Standard 1. Uses a variety of strategies in the problem-solving process Standard 4. Understands and applies basic and advanced properties of the concepts of measurement Benchmark 3. Understands the relationships among linear dimensions, area, and volume and the corresponding uses of units, square units, and cubic units of measure Benchmark 7. Understands formulas for finding measures (e.g., area, volume, surface area)

Common Core State Standards

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

English Language Arts Standards: Speaking and Listening

Grade 6-8

Comprehension and Collaboration:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.5 Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)

English Language Arts Standards: Science & Technical Subjects 

Grade 6-8    

Key Ideas and Details:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).


Students will do the following:
  • design a 3-dimensional box based on a given volume
  • calculate and analyze the volume of 3-dimensional figures
  • design a candy box that appeals to 8-12 year olds


  • "Candy Box Design"worksheet


  • colored construction paper
  • markers, colored pencils
  • poster board
  • various shaped containers of the same volume
  • rulers




Building Background Same Volume, Different Shape

The purpose of this activity is to examine how various containers can hold the same volume, but can differ in shape. 1. Bring in several boxes that have the same volume, but different shapes. Share and discuss the boxes with your students. 2. Divide the class into small groups. Write the formula volume = length x width x height on the board. Give each group three different-sized boxes.  Ask students to predict which box has the greatest and least volume. Have students use the formula to find the volume of each box.

Steps for Learning Design a Candy Box

The purpose of this activity is to provide students with an opportunity to design a candy box that meets a given criteria. 1. Students may work in pairs or in small groups for this activity. 2. Tell students that a candy manufacturer has hired them to design and construct a box for a new candy that they are launching. The company wants a unique box design that has a stable base. They want the package to stand out on the shelf and appeal to children in the 8 - 12 age group. The volume of the box needs to be 12 in.(192 cm3 ). 3. Pass out the Candy Box Design worksheet and have students complete the steps outlined in the worksheet. 4. After students have completed their boxes, have groups switch boxes and use the volume formula to check the volume of the boxes.


Create a class rubric with your students that will help them understand the effectiveness of their design process. Use the following guidelines to help create the rubric.-How effective was your brainstorming in generating ideas? Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor-Rate how well you met the criteria for the box construction. Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor -Rate how well you met the criteria for the box design. Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor -How effective was your overall design? Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor
-Rate your effectiveness as problem solvers.
Excellent             Good            Adequate            Poor
Would you have done anything differently? Explain.
List three things you learned while completing this assignment.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Candy Box Exhibit
Display completed boxes in the school library or other common areas of the school.

Related Files

  1. How do you intent to address students who wish to create a candy “box” that is not a rectangular prism? The idea of creating a unique candy box that has a volume 12 cubic inches allows students to be very creative and problems solve, but restricting the design process to rectangular prisms limits this. Creating two parts to this task might be beneficial, where students are restricted to a rectangular prism then have more freedom to design more creative “boxes”.

  2. Where can I find the candy design worksheet to print off?

  3. @jgasbarro The candy design worksheet is now available to be downloaded if you click on the link under “Related Files.” Please let us know if you have any other questions. Hope you will still be able to use this lesson!

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