Converting Capacity using U.S. Customary System

15 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


The students will be able to convert measurements of capacity within the U.S. Customary System.

Big Idea

Gallon Man to the rescue!


15 minutes

In today’s lesson students explore the capacity measurements associated with the U.S. Customary system.  Students use cup, pint, quart, and gallon containers to discover conversion relationships.  Students add to their graphic organizer the capacity units and create a tool to convert between the units.  Information will be summed up into a conversion tool using Gallon Man.  The students will practice converting using their conversion tool and then close the lesson with an exit slip involving some real world problems involving capacity conversions.

Previous to today’s lesson I ask students and other staff members to bring in capacity measuring tools such as measuring cups, gallon containers, pint containers, and quart containers.  Most students are able to bring in measuring cups and gallon containers.  I purchased some milk pints and brought in some 1 quart Tupperware containers. 

I then provide students with a bin full of water, a tray and a series of capacity containers.  I explain to students that I want them to try and determine the conversions between cups, pints, quarts, and gallons.  I give students about 10-15 minutes to explore. 

Okay so what did you come up with?  Were you able to determine any conversion factors? 

I listen to student responses and help pull information from their responses.  I write down information collected on the whiteboard as we discuss.

Wow, good job!  I definitely think we found the conversion factors for capacity.  Now let me share with you our conversion tools we are going to use to help us remember these factors.  First let’s set up our boxes on the back of our graphic organizer similar to how did for length and weight. 

We complete the conversion tool for cups to pints to quarts to gallons. Then I introduce students to Gallon Man.

I show students a picture of Gallon Man and ask students to make observations.  They should be able to recognize the different abbreviations and quantities of the units of capacity.  We then begin to create our own Gallon Man next to the conversion tool we just created.


30 minutes

At this point students are familiar with converting units using their conversion tools so I have them get started on the skill sheet for today’s lesson.  We complete the first couple conversions together then I have them work with a partner to complete the remainder of the sheet.  I allow the students about twenty minutes to complete the conversions while I circulate the room and support students.  I focus on assisting students that struggled during yesterday’s exit slip. 


15 minutes

To wrap up this lesson I have students complete an exit ticket which includes three story problems I created involving converting capacity units.  I use this information to guide me in deciding if further clarification is needed in converting capacity.  I look to see where students struggled to pin point exactly what part of converting is unclear to them.