A 60 minute lesson in which students will explore and compare the capacity of containers.
Prior to the lesson, ask the students to bring in a small plastic container from home. This will be used in the next few lessons of the unit.
Plastic containers of various sizes
This lesson contains a link to an external video. Please watch the video prior to presenting this lesson to ensure that the content is appropriate for your students.
Watch the Comparing Capacities video on YouTube. At the end of the video, revise key concepts and vocabulary e.g. capacity, more than, less than, the same as.
Ask two students to show the class the containers they have brought in from home (making sure they are different). Discuss which container might have the bigger capacity, encouraging the students to suggest how they can tell. Ensure that the students understand that it is the space inside the container that needs to be considered, not its height, width or shape.
Model how to write a comparative sentence for the containers e.g. The capacity of Emelda’s container is bigger than Randall’s. Leave the sentence on the board for the students to refer to during the lesson.
Ask the students to move around the room and find someone who has a container with a capacity that is more than theirs. The students must then write a comparative sentence of their own in their workbooks. Encourage them to illustrate the sentence by drawing the two containers.
Repeat the task two more times, allowing the students to find and write about a container with a smaller capacity than theirs and one that is about the same as theirs.
Monitor and support the students as they complete the tasks. Remodel the sentence each time, if necessary. If a student has trouble finding a container with a capacity that is bigger/smaller/similar, encourage them to think of another real-world container for their sentence.
Gather together as a class and invite the students to share their comparisons. During this process, hold up the containers for the class to see. If time permits, discuss whose container might have the largest capacity in the class and whose might have the smallest.
Encourage more capable students to create a list of selected containers in order from the smallest capacity to the largest.
Allow less confident students to draw or photograph their container comparisons.
Suggested Assessment Strategies
used strategic whole class or individual questioning
observed student participation during learning activities