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Activity 2

Measuring Capacity Using Non-standard Measures


It’s time to have more splashing fun with water! For this capacity challenge you will need:- 

4 - 6 containers; water; funnel; empty cup/yoghurt pot; Lego bricks/blocks

Choose some containers of different proportions and label each one with a number. (Try to use some containers that are tall but thin, and some that are short but wide.) 

Ask you child : Can you order the containers starting with the one that you think holds the most to the one that you think holds the least. 

Talk to your child about the choices that they have made. Why have you put that one first? Why have you put that one last? Do you think the shape of the container will make a difference? 

Explain to your child that we could compare how much the containers hold by pouring water from one to another but that that might take a while and we might spill some of the water. Explain that instead you are going to count how many cups/yoghurt pots of water each will hold. What must we remember to do to make the measuring fair? (The cup/yoghurt pot must have the same amount of water each time.)

Before you start measuring the amount of water in each container watch this YouTube video together.

Measuring Capacity

Place the first container in a washing-up bowl to catch any spillages. Fill a cup/yoghurt pot with water, and pour into the container (using a funnel if necessary) and carry on doing so until the container is full. To help you keep count, build a Lego tower as you fill the container, adding one block for every cup/yoghurt pot full of water you use. 

When the container is nearly full, decide whether another cup/yoghurt pot will fit, so that you can measure the capacity to the nearest cup/yoghurt. 

Count how many cups/yoghurt pots you have used by counting the number of blocks in your tower.

Repeat with the other containers. Make a Lego tower for each container. Look at your towers. Can you say which container held the most and which held the least. Can you put them in order? How did this compare with your predictions? Did the shape of any of the containers confuse you?


Now that you have measured how much water all the containers hold, line them up from which holds the most to the least.  Put the Lego towers you have made next to the containers.


*** Please take a photo of the containers and lego block towers as you need the information you have collected for the next activity.