Capacity is not an easy concept for kindergarten children to learn. In our Full Day Kindergarten class, we have been discussing non-standard measurements. For capacity, we are using concrete objects to teach the students that capacity means “how much a container can hold”.
We sent a note home with each child asking parents to bring in an empty container from their household. We assigned one day of the week to each student to bring that container in. As a large group, we had the children whose day it was to bring in the container tell the other students about their choice of container. On chart paper, we drew the containers as the children were describing it.
We then had all the students help us line those children with their containers up according to what the class thought was the smallest to biggest. Once they were in order according to size, we had the children guess how many pegs the containers would hold. Some containers generated several answers, so we had the children put up a quiet hand to vote on the number they thought and then wrote down the number that had the most hands raised.
After we were done this as a large group, I took the children who brought in the containers over to a table as a small group. We brought the chart paper with us. In this small group, we counted pegs into the containers and then recorded our answers. Once we were all done, we discussed if our “guesses” for numbers were more/less and if any of the containers surprised us with how much/little they could hold.
As I had this small group, the rest of the class went to various other measurement centers (which I will post during this week).
After we were all finished, we met on our carpet as a large group again. We reviewed how much each container could hold. The student who brought in the container had the opportunity to explain it to the others (great opportunity for assessment/observation).
We will do this everyday this week, which gives us a chance to work with each child in the class in a small group.