Measure Up! Capacity Chart

Measure Up! Capacity Chart lesson plan

How much does a container hold? Remember relative liquid measures with this capacity chart.

  • 1.

    Gather containers of various shapes and sizes for measuring liquid capacity. For example, for U.S. measures, find cup, pint, quart, and gallon containers.

  • 2.

    Working in small groups, ask students to select a variety of containers from the class set. Containers are put aside as students mix water with one to two drops of Crayola® Washable Tempera Paint in a pitcher of water. Stir gently.

  • 3.

    Students experiment with their selected containers to determine how many of one unit of capacity it takes to fill each vessel. For example, if students fill the smallest container, how many times will it take to fill the largest container with their mixture from the smallest container? Allow class time to experiment.

  • 4.

    Once the experimental phase of the lesson is complete, provide students with Crayola Construction Paper Crayons and black construction paper. Inform them that they will be creating a capacity chart to record their discoveries. Instruct students to draw the outline of a large jug. Inside the outline, students will draw increasingly smaller containers. Encourage students to color-code their drawings. For example, the blue crayon might be the outline of the largest container; the yellow crayon might be the outline of the smallest container, etc.

  • 5.

    Provide time for students to discuss what they have observed. Assist students with making connections from their experiment to capacity measurement in the Customary System.


  • LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.


  • Possible classroom resource: Pastry School in Paris: An Adventure in Capacity by Cindy Neuschwander
  • Encourage students to investigate the Metric System's measurement of capacity. This activity can be repeated for metric measure.