The problem requires multiple calculating steps.
I would start to work on this problem by sharing the context and showing the picture of the sauce and meatballs. Then I might set out a pot of water with two dozen small balls (or blocks). "What do you think?" I'd ask. Will this pot of water spill over if I add these balls to the pot? I'd ask students to choose, "yes" or "no," will the water spill? Then I would ask the students who say, "no, the balls don't fit" to estimate how many balls will fit. And for the students who say, "yes, the balls will fit" I would ask them to estimate how many more balls might fit. I'll record their estimates on our chart paper.
Next I'll ask students to think for a minute about what information they have - both in my display of water and balls and in the sauce textbook problem, what information they wish they had, what step they think they would work to solve first. I'll ask students to pair up and discuss their plans.
- What is the volume of the pan? How do you know?
- Why is knowing the sauce is 2 inches below the top of the pan significant?
- What is the volume of a meatball?
- How does the volume of one meatball affect the volume of the pot?
- What is the formula for the volume of a cylinder?
- What is the formula of a sphere?
- How are radius and diameter related?
Last ... we'll demonstrate ... we will toss in the balls and watch to see if the water spills.
What are you thinking? What would you do with this problem?