Smoothie Capacity Challenge

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Investigating capacity and getting wet wet wet...

Lesson idea. This activity is intended to help young children understand the concept of the capacity of a container being something that can be measured and compared. It is intended that they develop a very practical understanding of this principle as preparation for investigating measuring capacity in both non-standard and standard units.

Teaching approach. This is a practical session to be used with a whole class in small groups(ta) of 2 or 3 –perhaps with the added supervision of a teaching assistant if the class is excitable or particularly young. There is scope within this activity for the following different methods of learning:

  • Whole class(ta) dialogue - Discussion of each part of the activity
  • Open-ended questions(ta) – How can we find out if the containers hold the same amount? What can we tell just by looking at them?
  • Project work – as part of a wider maths topic on measuring volume and capacity.
  • Enquiry-based learning(ta) – children are discovering the answer to questions that they are encouraged to pose themselves.
  • Arguing and reasoning(ta) – persuading each other about their ideas.
  • Exploring ideas – developing practical, physical understanding of key mathematical principles. (edit)
Resource details
Title Smoothie Capacity Challenge
Topic Capacity
Teaching approach
Learning Objectives
  • Understanding that capacity is the amount that a container can hold.
  • Creating a method of comparing capacities.
Age of students / grade

Files and resources to view and download

Contributed by Paul Warwick.