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The students will be able to describe part whole relationships and determine simple equivalences with measurement in capacity.
Measurement is difficult for students to understand unless they are given hands‐ on experiences measuring using measurement tools. Teachers need to create the chance for students to measure and make equivalences.
This lesson will give students opportunities to measure using cups and quarts (pounds and ounces as an extension). Although the gallon is not part of 3rd grade core, most students know what a gallon of milk is. Therefore, using a gallon can be another real‐ life reference point students can use as they experiment how much a container can hold. Within the customary system, the common units for measuring capacity are fluid ounces, cups, pints, quarts, and gallons.
For teacher reference, capacity is how much can fit into something, (e.g., The capacity of a container may be 2 cups of rice or 500 ml of water.) Capacity for third graders includes cups and quarts. Volume is the amount of 'space' that is taken up (whether or not there is something in it or it is solid), expressed in cubic cm (or m or km).
The weight of liquid measurements can be included in the second part of the lesson after students have experimented with capacity. Most students have seen a soda pop can or bottle. Use what they know to measure the capacity of the liquid inside the container. Then give students the chance to weigh the ounces, cups, and/or quarts of known quantities of cereal, and drinks. Next, have students do problem solving by making equivalences of what they have found.
Prior to the lesson, have students bring containers from home such as juice, cereal, milk, soda pop, etc. This will give students real ‐world connections to what they already have and use in their homes.
One way to teach capacity is with an Enduring Understanding and Essential Questions. After each question are the suggestions lessons that or ideas that should be covered.
These activities will be done in small groups. There are member roles and responsibilities given as a reference for teachers. Students need journals to record their findings. At each table place the following items (students can bring something from home they can measure.):
Invitation to Learn:
Show a bowl that could be used for breakfast cereal. Also show the small milk or juice box from the lunchroom.
Ask students, "Do you know how much cereal would fit into the bowl?" or "How much milk would you put in the cereal?" or "How much juice or milk fits in the small "boxes" in the lunchroom?" Today we will use standard measurements of cup, quart, and gallon to measure common foods and drinks such as cereal and milk, juice, or water.
Students will have jobs and take turns making measurements, checking measurements, and writing information in the table of the recording sheet. A job sheet will help keep students on task (Cooperative Group Member Roles(pdf)).
Lesson and Activity Time Schedule:
Activity Connected to Lesson:
Extend the activity: Ask students how many cups of juice they believe they can pour from a gallon of juice. Have students explain their reasoning. Pour the apple juice into cups to see how many cups are in one gallon. (Let the students drink the apple juice.)
Show students how to create an array to show cups, quarts, and gallon.