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Everyone knows the moon isn't really made of cheese. But what if it were? Picture it. Sure, we'd have a bit of an issue with the ocean tides, but think of all that cheese. We could end world hunger (assuming no one was lactose-intolerant or vegan).

How much cheese would it even be? Well, we can find out using the volume of a sphere.

To find the volume of a sphere, we can chop it up into an infinite number of pyramids. It'll take a while (more like forever), so let's not and say we did. But if we're going to say we did, we better make it convincing.

If we make the base of our pyramids the surface of the sphere and the vertex the very center, our radius ends up being the height of the pyramid. If we added up all these pyramids, we'd end up with an equation that looks like this:

Since our heights all equal the radius, we can replace h with r and factor it out.

Now we've got a hive of B's. All the bases added together equal the surface of the sphere, and we already have the formula for the surface area.

Simplifying it slightly, we have our volume formula.

We have our formula, so let's get down to business...to defeat the Huns.

Sample Problem

What is the volume of this sphere?

Its radius is 4 inches and luckily, that's all we need to know.



V ≈ 268 in3

Piece of cake, right? Don't worry. We're hip and with-it. We can switch it up, yo.

Sample Problem

What is the diameter of a sphere whose volume is 11,494 cubic feet?

Since we're looking for the radius, it's probably best if we isolate for that first.

Make sure we cube root that mess and not square root.

r ≈ 14 ft

We can find volume using the radius and vice versa. As bountiful (or bouncy-ful) as balls might be, there are other solids we should take into account.

Hemispheres, for instance. Since a hemisphere is exactly half of a sphere, its volume should be exactly half the volume of a sphere. That makes exactly 100% sense.

Sample Problem

What is the volume of the hemisphere?




V ≈ 1527 cm3

Our triumph speaks volumes.

Example 1

Find the volume of a sphere with a diameter of 20 millimeters.


Example 2

Weebles wobble but they don't fall down. If Mr. Weebleton, the mayor of Weebletown, is 10 centimeters tall and has a radius of 4 centimeters, how big is he? All Weebles have this basic shape.


Example 3

If the diameter of the moon is 3476 kilometers, find its volume. If 1 km3 of cheese feed 100 people and there are 8 billion people on earth, could the moon feed the whole world? Assume no one is lactose-intolerant.


Exercise 1

Find the volume of the sphere if its circumference is 37.7 inches.

Exercise 2

Find the volume of the sphere.

Exercise 3

The radius if 18 meters. Find the volume of the solid, a cylinder with a hemispherical chunk removed. 

Exercise 4

Find the volume of the capsule. If it contains 500 milligrams of aspirin, what is the density of the aspirin?

Exercise 5

Super Sourz candy will make you cry faster than a broken nose. The box has dimensions of 4 inches, 6 inches, and 10 inches. If it's filled with small spherical Super Sourz candies, each with a diameter of 1.4 inches, how many candies does the box contain?

Exercise 6

If the surface area of Planet Earth is about 196,712,612 square miles, what is its volume?

Exercise 7

When picking a bowling ball, you don't want it to be too heavy or too light. A black shiny bowling ball has a circumference of 25.1 inches. If the density of the bowling ball is 0.0448 lbs/in3, how much does it weigh?

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