Customary Measurement: Volume

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 11307

What is the volume of an object? We don't mean how loud it is! If you have the capacity to learn, you'll understand volume by hearing a song, watching a silly but educational video, and an experiment!


Measurement and Data

learning style
Auditory, Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


How much milk is inside the plastic container?

gallon of milk

Throughout this series, Customary Measurement, you have been learning about different customary units of measurement.

So far, you have learned about customary units of length and weight. Let's review what you have learned so far:

  1. Make a list of the four customary units used to measure length, and the three customary units used to measure weight.
  2. Next to each unit, write an example of something you would measure with that particular unit.

If you were unable to remember all the units of length and weight, or if you had a difficult time coming up with examples, review the Related Lessons found in the right-hand sidebar before moving forward with this lesson.

In this lesson, you will investigate units of customary measurement used to measure volume. Before you can start learning and using units of volume, you have to know the definition. If you already know, or have some idea of what volume is, write it down.

If you are uncertain what "volume" means, look at the Definition of Volume on Math is Fun. After reading the definition and looking at the examples, write down in your own words what volume means.

Volume is the capacity or amount of space within a three-dimensional object. It is important to remember that two-dimensional objects do not have volume.

Now that you can define "volume," let's find out what customary units are used to measure volume. Volume is measured in cups, pints, quarts, gallons, and fluid ounces.

Cups are small. When you drink a glass of water, you are drinking one to two cups of water, depending on the size of your glass. If you like to bake, you use cups all the time to measure ingredients like flour and sugar. You probably have a one-cup measuring cup at your house. If you do, get it out and examine it.

  • What could you fit inside that measuring cup?

Next, pints are used to measure volume. There are two cups in one pint.

  • Have you ever seen a small cardboard box of milk, similaar to the one in the picture?

The size of the smallest container is one pint.

carton of milk

Another customary unit used for measuring volume is a quart. There are two pints in a quart. Some containers of milk are little bigger than the cardboard box of milk. If you have seen a bottle of milk like the one pictured below, you know what a quart looks like.

half gallon of milk

The next customary unit used for measuring volume is the gallon. There are four quarts in a gallon. Look at the image at the beginning of the lesson. The image shows a gallon of milk. You probably have a gallon of milk in your refrigerator right now. If you do, go look at it to get an idea of what a gallon looks like.

Another customary unit of volume is fluid ounces. A fluid ounce is very small! It takes eight fluid ounces to fill up one cup. For the most part, you do not need to worry about fluid ounces right now, but you will use them when you get to middle school.

Sometimes simple math can be used to help you figure out how much volume something has. Watch Measuring Liquids - Customary and Metric Measurement - Mr. Pearson Teaches 3rd Grade to learn how many cups, pints, and quarts can fit into a gallon. As you watch, answer the following questions on a separate piece of paper:

  • How many cups are in a pint?
  • How many cups are in a quart? How many pints are in a quart?
  • How many cups are in a gallon? How many pints are in a gallon? How many quarts are in a gallon?

You can also use Gallon-bot to help you answer the questions:


After listening to the song and examining Gallon-bot, review your answers. Then, move on to the next section to practice working with units of volume.

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