Finding the volumes of miscellaneous-sized containers using a known total measurement of one container. They will do this in as few steps as possible.
Grade Level: 4 - 6th
Length of Time: About 2-3 Class Periods
Common Core Alignment
CCSS.Math.Content.5.MD.A.1 - Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.
Objectives & Outcomes
The students will be able to determine the volume of unknown-sized containers using one known-sized measuring cup or other container in as few steps as possible.
One 8 or 16 ounce (or other size) container, at least 5 other miscellaneous containers, access to water, ruler, handout
Prepare ahead of time: Empty containers for every three students: One empty symmetrical container with a total measurement of 8 or 16 ounces (It cannot have lines showing individual ounces.), plus at least 5 containers without its size shown. The containers do not necessarily have to be for a liquid. For example, using a plastic container from any product would be useful, as long as it can hold water. Large water containers students to use to access water, dump water, etc., especially if a sink is not near. One measuring cup, or similar, to check for exact volumes in miscellaneous containers following activity. Prepare a handout for students to sketch each container and to show its volume in ounces. You may decide to label every container with letters/numbers.
Opening to Lesson
- Display two of the same containers, one full of water, the other empty. Tell students there are X ounces of water in the full container. Ask students: How can we make sure both containers have the same number of ounces?
- Allow for responses and discussion. Most students should discover that pouring half the liquid into the empty container would solve the problem.
- Next, ask what one could do if the containers were not the same size.
- Allow for responses and discussion.
Body of Lesson
- Pour half the water into the second container.
- Tell students they will also try and determine the volumes of different sized containers using a single container of water.
- They will pour water into, out of, exchanging amounts, recording amounts, etc.
- The goal is to determine the volumes of each empty container in as few steps as possible.
- Place students in groups of three. Assign one student to record information, but he or she is also participating by sharing ideas, etc.
- Distribute a chart showing volumes: ounces in a cup, etc.
- Review the chart with the class.
- Distribute the empty containers along with the chart for recording information.
- Tell students to brainstorm ideas to determine volumes of each container. They should not need to guess.
- Distribute the known container with the water and a ruler. Allow access to a dumping bucket, additional water. Tell students to be as neat as possible.
- Allow students a sufficient amount of time to solve the problem in as few steps as possible.
- Once they have determined volumes of each container, remind the recorder to also sketch pictures on the chart showing the volume of each.
- Students will use teacher-created materials or commercial worksheets to enhance their understanding of volume.
- Use the measuring cups or similar containers to determine exact measurements of each unknown container.
- Ask students if they would do anything different if they began the activity again.
- Allow for responses and discussion.
Assessment & Evaluation
Evaluate the students as they work together using a prepared rubric. Test or quiz students’ knowledge on volume measurements: ounces in a cup, cups in a pint, etc. Students write a short paragraph of steps involved in determine the volume of an unknown-sized container.
Modification & Differentiation
Give each group more than 5 containers to guess their volumes. Plan a similar activity using weight. Students work in pairs or alone (more containers needed.)
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