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Exploring capacity in a fun and engaging way!

Capacity and a Little Test Prep!


For the most part, third grade has been a HUGE learning experience. I often find myself having to “study up” on concepts before I teach them, especially in math. #teacherproblems. But when I saw that capacity was taught in MY third-grade curriculum, I jumped for joy! YEAH! Something I was used to teaching! Capacity (and actually ALL things measurement for that matter) were all part of my second-grade realm BCC (Before Common Core). Although this would be a small unit, as it only focuses on the metric system, I was still soooo excited to teach it!

 Exploring capacity in a fun and engaging way!
So of course, we had to a guided discovery! We used this sheet from my “How Much: Mass and Capacity” quick print unit…
exploring capacity
So we got to work discovering how much a milliliter and a liter actually were and which unit you would use to measure what. Using a clear plastic container and armed with a water droplet and a 1-liter water bottle, we were ready!
real world connections for capacity
We made a few conversions and eventually found that 1,000 milliliters were equal to 1 liter. Then we were ready to measure with liters… Here we are filling our classroom sink…
hands on activities for teaching capacity
It was 16 liters and full of giggles if you were wondering. 😉 Once we had a solid understanding of using milliliters and liters,  we worked in partners to brainstorm items we would measure using those two units.
milliliters or liters activity
Our tab books turned out cute!
milliliters or liters flipbook
Underneath each tab, the kiddos brainstormed 4-5 items they could measure the capacity with using liters or milliliters.
milliliters or liters flip book
Then we were ready to make reasonable estimates. This is always so tricky (mainly because it is so abstract!) So we reviewed our “estimates” with this Capacity reference poster.
capacity reference poster
Then, we reasoned our way through items. For assessment, I had students complete this QUICK cut and paste activity.
reasonable estimates with milliliters and liters
Nothing fancy, but it allowed me to see right away who was still struggling with understanding and using those metric units.
reasonable estimates with capacity
For those kiddos, I pulled back out our visual aids and reasoned through our estimates. Worked like a charm!
Teacher tip: A common misconception when teaching reasonable estimates is that the larger the item being measured, the larger the number regardless of the units. It’s important to remind students to think about those units! I had a few students put 500 mL for the tub because that was the largest number on the page, but some quick reminding of those water droplets quickly set them straight!
You can grab all these quick prints and so much more in this pack at my TpT Store!
Now, we’re on the final countdown before State Testing (which you can read more about my opinion of here), so I HAD to squeeze in a little bit of test prep among-st all this math fun! One of the skills we’ve been “told” our new state test, the FSA may include is the use of a MAZE passage. This is something I’ve seen used before, but I’ve never done with my students.  I knew it was something we would HAVE to practice. So, I made up some fun pages for use to work through.
MAZE practice passage activity
My class LOVED working with a buddy using “rally coach” structure. They each took turns highlighting the correct word to complete the sentence. Highlighters ALWAYS make everything fun!


MAZE practice passage
Then, they reread the passage to make sure it made sense out loud. Smiles during test prep?! Yes, please! Oh, and one more thing I HAVE to share…
multiplication practice app
If you are in need of some math fact practice and have access to technology in your classroom, I HIGHLY suggest Sushi Monster! My kiddos are OBSESSED! They BEG during our math centers time to play! We need all the help we can get with our multiplication facts, so it’s a welcomed activity!
Exploring capacity using hands on activities. I love that the kids actually measured how many liters the sink would hold!


Hi, I'm Leigh.

The Applicious Teacher is all about creating hands-on and engaging lessons that align with the standards while still having time for your life. This is your place for ideas, tips, and resources for the REAL teacher!


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