Mold Mole Molds

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In this activity, learners make different shapes that hold exactly one mole of gas (air). Learners are provided a face that they must measure and use as one of the sides of their three-dimensional container. Learners will discover that the containers may end up a variety of boxes and cylinders each with different starting faces but all with the same volume.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • posterboard, cardboard, or other stiff paper
  • scissors
  • tape
  • ruler
  • calculator or mathematical mind


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Variables and Expressions
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
      • Solid Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
    • Number and Operations
      • Decimals
      • Exponents
      • Multiples and Factors
      • Operations
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Yu, Julie


  • All rights reserved, Exploratorium, 2007

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0610238
  • National Science Foundation, 0925383