Capacity Lesson Plans - excerpt

KLA:   Maths    Lesson: Capacity – informal measurements

                             Duration: Approx 40min                                                       Class/Stage:3W

Outcomes (Stage 1 outcomes)

MS1.3 Estimates, measures, compares and records volumes and capacities using informal units

Resources: Containers of various sizes, maths books, informal units for measuring (blocks, beads, counters etc) – 3 for each pair

Links to previous learning: This is the 3rd measurement lesson, students have begun to think about ways of comparing and measuring the capacity of containers.

Lesson Focus: Students will estimate, compare and measure the capacity of different containers using informal measurements, recording and evaluating strategies used.

Classroom organization: Whole group (floor), pairs (at desks or around room)

Specific indicators of learning
Counts and compares the number of cups of material needed to fill three different containers
Recognises that containers of different shape may hold the same amount of material (conservation)
Estimates and measures the capacity of a container using informal units

Assessment strategies

Develops strategies to estimate, measure and order the capacity of 3 different containers

State and record the number and type of units used to measure capacity

Suggest appropriate units and methods and explain why one is better than another






Discuss (as a class) packing activity completed by the girls

Was material appropriate? Good and bad points of this method?

Containers filled with stacks of unifix cubes


Explain how activity is going to work.

Ask students, 2 or 3 at a time, to select a set of 3 containers.

Choose unit of measure, and justify in writing.

Estimate capacity, and order containers according to capacity (this must be checked by teacher)

Select method of measure, and justify in writing.

Measure, record findings and evaluate. (Perhaps need to demonstrate method of recording?)

Fast finishers to repeat with different materials and containers

Whole class, moving into pairs.

How should I pair them? Andrew/David, Finn and Hunter, Dane and ? worked way ahead last time

Containers organised into sets of 3’s

Various informal units of measure

Maths books

Steps written on board



When students have finished activity, they are to pack away materials, clean desk, and sit on floor with their math books. They will share answers/results


Is it necessary to use the same material and method to test both containers, why? What is fair testing and why is it important?

Was the method used appropriate?

Was the material appropriate?

Was estimation correct? Second time around? Why?

If activity was repeated, was a second method used? Why did you change method?

What would you do differently next time?

Students to pack away materials, and help others to clean.

When all is tidy, students to sit on the floor (with maths books? Maybe one or two students could display their containers and method and results?)