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Engaging Ways to Help Children Learn Capacity

by Jill & Cathy on April 18, 2014

Engaging Ideas for Teaching Capacity by The Curriculum Corner FREE

We have found that the best way to give students a foundation for understanding liquid measurement is to do as many hands-on type activities as possible.  One idea is to set up discovery centers around the classroom.  You may choose to rotate the students through these centers all in one day (twenty  minutes to a half an hour at each center) or you may choose to rotate the groups through the centers over the course of a week – one each day per group.  It is important to remember that these centers are not meant to be graded or assessed, but simply a way for students to explore capacity measurement tools in a more real world way.  Here are some ideas and resources for possible centers:

Water Center - Gather cup, pint, quart and gallon measurement tools and set them up near a sink in your classroom.  Students can use the printable to record their observations as they pour water from one vessel into another.

Water, Water Everywhere!

**You can use empty milk, juice or food cartons/containers if you wish or you might want to think about purchasing a set like the one in the Amazon link below, which also has some tools for the other centers described here.

Measuring Cups & Spoons Center- For this center you will need three or four sets of measuring cups and three or four sets of measuring spoons. (Think about asking parents to borrow theirs if you don’t want to purchase them.)  Next, find two large containers – one big enough to hold a large bag of birdseed, popcorn kernels or dry beans and another for salt or sand. (The bigger the containers and the more dry ingredient you have – the smaller the mess since they will be used by a group of students at the same time.  Just a helpful hint!!  Big aluminum pans are great for this.)  Place the measuring cups in the birdseed/popcorn kernels/dry beans and the measuring spoons in the salt/sand.  Students will explore these tools and make discoveries about their size and how much they hold.

My Cup Runneth Over

Just a Spoonful of…

Trail Mix & Drink Mix Center – This center involves the students following an easy recipe for individual bags of “trail mix” by measuring out different amounts and also in following the directions on a packet or container of powdered drink mix.  For this center you will need to make sure you have a few sets of measuring cups, a pitcher for the group to mix their drink in, a large Ziploc baggie for each student, a black marker to label the snack bags, and some plastic cups.  Before students can enjoy their snack and drink, the teacher will come “check” that their trail mixes look correct and don’t have too much of one ingredient in them.  (This is pretty easy to tell just by looking at all the bags together.  No measurement is typically necessary.  A parent volunteer at this station is a great idea or it may just be one that the teacher visits often as he/she circulates the room.)

Mix It Up!

Popcorn (Popped Vs. Unpopped) Center – For this center an air popper is suggested to make it easier.  (An adult placed at this center is advised as well if possible.)  You will also need a large bowl, a set of measuring cups, some individual paper bowls (we have used large cups or baggies for this too) and some salt or butter salt (if desired).  For this center students measure out 1/4 cup of unpopped kernels into the popper.  After the popping is finished they measure the popped popcorn to see how much their 1/4 cup created and then enjoy the treat!

Popped Vs. Unpopped

Capacity Cut-Aparts Center - For this center you will need to print, laminate and cut sets of the visuals below.  We suggest you print the sets on different color card stock for durability and to help students keep them organized at the center.  Create enough sets so that each student at the center has one set to work with.  Place the sets in large baggies.  Students will use them to explore the relationships between cups, pints, quarts and gallons as they complete the corresponding page Capacity Capers.

Capacity Cut-Aparts       Capacity Capers

Here are some visuals to help teach capacity.  You might use these for mini-lessons, to display in your classroom and/or for students to keep in a math binder as a resource: 

Cup, Pint, Quart & Gallon Anchor Chart (color)

Cup, Pint, Quart & Gallon Anchor Chart (black & white)

Here are some YouTube videos we have found to enhance the teaching of capacity.  Students seem to always love music and will love these!

King Gallon Song  (This video has no words, just music with words on screen.  This is a great way to incorporate reading into math!)

Capa City   (This is a western video which lasts just under 5 minutes.  It takes place in Capa City. (How cute is THAT!?)  The first half tells western story and the second half is a catchy song about capacity and conversions.)

Kingdom of Gallonium (This is cute fairy tale-like story about capacity.)

Gallon Man Shake   (This video is simply visuals set to some music to help show conversion between cups, pints, quarts and gallons. This would be good for visual learners.)

Capacity Rap (This is a very short clip of students sitting in a classroom reading the words to the Capacity Rap.  This would be great for your auditory learners to learn.)

And here is a link to a related resource we thought was engaging as well:

Gallon Robot Printables





Ask & Answer Questions in Informational Text

by Jill and Cathy on April 9, 2014

Asking & Answering Questions in Informational Text by The Curriculum Corner

Use these materials to help address CCSS addressing informational text.  These items are designed to be used with any book.  We suggest introducing the graphic organizers you choose to use during a mini-lesson and then giving students extra practice with the organizers during independent reading.

Anchor Chart  As you begin discussing asking questions, we suggest using this anchor chart to give students guidelines for your expectations.  We would also take time to model good, quality questions and give examples of questions that are not quality questions.

Asking Questions  For this graphic organizer, students record questions they have as they read.

I Wonder  This graphic organizer can be used for students to write their “I Wonder” questions as they read.  Students also identify where they might look to find the answer.

Be the Teacher  This graphic organizer is designed for students to use to create questions that might be asked of the reader.  They are to think of themselves as the teacher.  The questions they ask should be answered by looking in the text.

Be the Student  This graphic organizer is to be used along with the Be the Teacher graphic organizer.

Ask, Answer & Cite  This graphic organizer takes asking and answering questions a step farther.  Students ask and answer questions along with citing where in the text the answer was found.

These graphic organizers were written to address the following CCSS 2nd and 3rd grade standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

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