Lesson 7

Introduction to Liquid Volume

Lesson Purpose

The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the measurement of liquid volume.

Lesson Narrative

In previous lessons, students measured and estimated the weight of objects in grams and kilograms. In this lesson, students learn that liquid volume is the amount of space that a liquid takes up and consider the challenges of directly comparing liquid volumes by just looking at them. Students use informal units (such as plastic cups, spoons, and so on) to compare the liquid volume that two containers will hold. Finally, students are introduced to the liter as a metric unit of liquid volume. They create a tool for measuring liquid volume in liters by filling a container and making a mark for each liter as it’s added to the container. A clear container is used so students can see the level of the liquid and a dry erase marker is used so the marks can be erased after the lesson.

To build a conceptual understanding of liquid volume, it is extremely helpful for students to have firsthand experience of comparing liquids in different containers. To make that possible, some new materials and preparation are required for this lesson.

  • Engagement
  • MLR5

Activity 2: Liquid Volume in Liters

Learning Goals

Teacher Facing

  • Estimate and compare liquid volumes of containers using informal units and liters.
  • Understand liquid volume as the amount of space that a liquid takes up.

Student Facing

  • Let’s learn about liquid volume.

Required Materials

Materials to Gather

Required Preparation

Activity 1:

Each group of 4 needs:

  • a supply of water (1 liter bottles would work and could be reused for the next activity)
  • two containers that are different in shape, but close in size, each labeled with “A” and “B”
  • a small container labeled with “unit,” such as a large spoon, film canister, or a small measuring cup
  • a tray or towel to work on (optional)
3 containers.

Activity 2:

Gather the following materials:

  • a large clear container that can be written on, such as a gallon water jug with top removed or clear storage bin
  • 1-liter container (1-liter water bottle, measuring cup, etc.)
  • a supply of water (enough to fill the larger container)
  • OR the Liquid Volume in Liters video: https://vimeo.com/451620298

CCSS Standards


Lesson Timeline

Warm-up 10 min
Activity 1 20 min
Activity 2 15 min
Lesson Synthesis 10 min
Cool-down 5 min

Teacher Reflection Questions

What surprised you about student thinking about measurements of liquid volume in the first activity? What strategies did you anticipate? Which did you not anticipate?

Suggested Centers

  • Creating Line Plots (2–5), Stage 2: Quarter Inches (Addressing)
  • Target Measurements (2–5), Stage 2: Quarter Inches (Addressing)

Print Formatted Materials

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Additional Resources

Google Slides

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PowerPoint Slides

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