Loads of Sugar


The purpose of this activity is to engage students in using mathematical strategies to solve a measurement problem in context.

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.
NA3-1: Use a range of additive and simple multiplicative strategies with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages.
NA3-4: Know how many tenths, tens, hundreds, and thousands are in whole numbers.
NA3-6: Record and interpret additive and simple multiplicative strategies, using words, diagrams, and symbols, with an understanding of equality.
Description of Mathematics

This activity could be included in a thematic study, for example, of nutrition, junk food, marketing and food labels. The background knowledge and skills that should be established before and/or during this activity are outlined in the diagram below:

Click to show example questions for each heading

This activity may be carried out with step by step guidance, or by allowing the student to follow their own method of solution. The approach should be chosen in sympathy with students' skills and depth of understanding.


A year 6 class is studying healthy foods and wants to show, at a school assembly, how bad sugary drinks are.

The class has found out that sugar makes up one tenth of the volume of a popular soft drink.

The class plans to ask each of the 600 students in the school to bring in their drink bottles filled with the same amount of water as a 500 mL (half a litre) soft drink bottle holds. This is so that the class can tell the school it is just as well they have water in the bottles because, if they had a soft drink...what a huge lot of sugar they would all be consuming.

They will have on stage, the volume of sugar that would be in all of the drink bottles if they contained the sugary soft drink rather than water. The sugar will be placed in 2 L icecream containers.

How many icecream containers will they need?

The procedural approach  (show more)

  • The student is able to solve a context-based rates problem, measurement multiplicative strategies with guidance.

The conceptual approach  (show more)

  • The student is able to solve a context-based measurement problem, using multiplicative strategies.
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Level Three