Font:

# Capacity

Strand: Shape and Space (Measurement)
Outcome: 5

## Step 3: Plan for Instruction

### Guiding Questions

• What learning opportunities and experiences should I provide to promote learning of the outcomes and permit students to demonstrate their learning?
• What teaching strategies and resources should I use?
• How will I meet the diverse learning needs of my students?

### A. Assessing Prior Knowledge and Skills

Before introducing new material, consider ways to assess and build on students’ knowledge and skills related to capacity.

### B. Choosing Instructional Strategies

Consider the following general strategies for teaching capacity (Van de Walle 2001):

• Access prior knowledge on using perimeter, area and volume in the real world.
• Introduce capacity by drawing on familiar and accessible contexts to illustrate uses of capacity (NCTM 2000).
• Review the process used in developing understanding of perimeter, area and volume and use a similar process in developing understanding of capacity, stressing that the attribute changes but the process is similar:
• Explain that the attribute to be measured is capacity.
• Check for conservation of capacity; e.g., pour liquid to the same level in two identical containers and then pour the liquid from one of the containers into a taller or shorter container and compare the amount of liquid.
• Always estimate prior to comparing or measuring capacity.
• Make direct comparisons; e.g., compare the capacity of two containers by pouring the content of one container into the other container.
• Estimate the capacity of a container using nonstandard units of measure; e.g., plastic caps or liquid medicine cups. Use various techniques for estimating capacity:
• Referents—use a referent for the single unit of measure and iterate this unit mentally to obtain the estimate; e.g., use a handful as a referent for about 25 mL.
• Chunking—estimate the capacity of a smaller portion of a container initially and use this estimate to estimate the entire capacity of the container; e.g., estimate the capacity of a smaller section of a container and then multiply that answer by the number of these sections in the entire container.
• Iteration—iterate a unit mentally or physically; e.g., use a single unit repeatedly to visually estimate the capacity of a container (Van de Walle and Lovin 2006).
• Have the students share their strategies for estimating capacity.
• Accept a range of estimates—within 30% of the actual measure is reasonable (Van de Walle and Lovin 2006, p. 279).
• Encourage the students to measure the capacity after each estimate so that they develop a better sense of capacity.
• Use nonstandard units of measure that have the same attribute as the item being measured; e.g., use plastic caps or liquid medicine cups to measure capacity of a container.
• Make indirect comparisons using a nonstandard unit of measure that has the same attribute as the item being measured; e.g., use plastic caps or liquid medicine cups to measure the capacities of containers for the purpose of comparison.
• Measure the capacity of a container using larger then smaller nonstandard units of measure to establish that the smaller the unit of measure, the more you need to measure the capacity of a given container; e.g., more small plastic capfuls are needed than larger plastic capfuls to measure the capacity of a given container.
• Explain the need to use standard units to measure capacity to facilitate communicating the measurements globally.
• Measure the capacity of a given container using an appropriate instrument with standard units of measure; e.g., use a graduated beaker marked in millilitres to measure the capacity of a container.

### C. Choosing Learning Activities

Learning Activities are examples of activities that could be used to develop student understanding of the concepts identified in Step 1.