Primary students (K-2): shapes, colors, recognition of numerals, area
Intermediate students (3-5): multiplication, area, volume of rectangular prisms
At a high level, this was about looking for patterns in the numbers in the grid to determine the formula for the volume of a rectangular prism. I deliberately did not label the grid 'length', 'width', and 'height' because I was hoping students would notice the relationship between the numbers in the grid and the dimensions of the prisms.
This activity does a nice job of visually reinforcing the area model of multiplication: L x W = A
"3 x 2 x 3 =18"
"The graph shows 3 numbers that you multiply to get the number at the end (the product of the first 3 numbers.)"
"2 x 2 x 2 = 8"
"The multiplication of 3 rows equals to the number of the last row."