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Home : 2005 : Mar : 15

    math lesson
    By Emily

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    I have to say that the best way to teach capacity to 2nd graders is to actually let them experiment measuring and pouring. I've used water, which is VERY messy, but the kids love it. I've also used rice. You have to buy quite a bit of rice, but it's easier to clean up at the end.
    I just finished a great unit on capacity from a book called Math Excursions - it's a project based math guide. The lessons are too long probably for your 30 minute lesson, but if you can get your hands on one, the project is very appropriate for 2nd graders and how they should learn math - it might at least give you some ideas for a thirty minute lesson.

    One of the things I did was to bring in different size quart containers from around my house (bbq sauce, Tilex, car oil, lotion, water bottles, milk bottles, soda bottles). We talked about which one would hold more (at this point lots of 2nd graders think the bigger or taller, the more it will hold, but it was a very interesting discussion). Then I partnered them up with another 2nd grader and they were in charge of one quart container (I labeled each container with a letter). They used water, a funnel and and 8oz (1 cup) measuring unit to see how many cups were in their quart. I made them test 3 times for accuracy. Then we came back and discussed their results. If there were any major discrepancies, I checked their work by measuring the quart in front of them. We came to the conclusion that most quarts hold 4 cups, some quarts hold a little more than 4 if they have extra space at the top.

    If you're a constructivist, this is a great way for 2nd graders to draw their own conclusions based on their experiences.

    Hope this helps! Good luck on your lesson. I hope that it works out!

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