Fill Them Up


This is a level 3 measurement strand activity from the Figure It Out series.
A PDF of the student activity is included.

Achievement Objectives
GM3-1: Use linear scales and whole numbers of metric units for length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), angle, temperature, and time.
Student Activity

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Specific Learning Outcomes

explore capacity

Required Resource Materials
a collection of different-shaped plastic containers


FIO, Level 3, Measurement, Fill Them Up, page 18

measuring jug, funnel



This activity asks students to estimate and measure the capacity of different containers.
This activity can be done with the whole class or in groups. You will need to have a range of jars and enough of them for each student. Detergent bottle lids, soap powder scoops, pottles, yoghurt containers, plastic cups, coffee tins, pots, basins, and buckets are suitable.
You will also need measuring instruments. These should range from measuring spoons showing 5 millimetres to 1 or 2 litre measuring jugs.
Begin by having students estimate which are the smallest and which are the largest containers. Place these at either end of the front row of desks in the classroom. Students can discuss and vote for the position of each container as they arrange them from smallest to biggest. If any containers have the same capacity, they would be positioned in the same place. Use numbered cards to mark the position of each container. These will help you to keep track of how the positions of the containers have changed after students have measured each container.
Have some students each select one of the containers and mark it with the same number as the position card or write its name on the position card. Other students could each select a measuring instrument. Discuss the suitability of the instrument for measuring the capacity of the chosen container.
Students can then fill the containers with water and measure the amount of water in each container. They should do this several times to check the accuracy of their measurements.
When the class regroups, they can reposition the containers from smallest to largest and discuss any changes of position. If there are any surprises, students should discuss what the difficulty was in making the estimate.

Activity Two

Students will need to fill and pour with care so that the activity is done reasonably accurately. They could reduce spillage by using a funnel.
Have the students complete a chart that could feature a check column where they write the equation and use a calculator to see how accurate they were in measuring. For example:


Answers to Activities

Activity One
Answers will vary.
Activity Two
Answers will vary.

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Level Three