Sunday, October 26, 2014

Teaching Kids How to Measure the Volume of a Liquid

Today I'd like to discuss one of my favorite measurement topics; measuring liquid volume. I have successfully taught this subject matter for well over 5 years and hope to help you discover something you didn't know about or think of. When I first started teaching, there were no additional resources to help with some of the common problematic things I came across while trying to teach this concept. 

Common Problems I Faced Teaching Liquid Volume:
1. Not enough graduated cylinders for the entire class (25-30 kids). 
2. No follow-up resources (exit ticket, power points or references for students).
3. Long preparation to set up stations & create keys.
4. Nothing relevant for students to do once they completed their stations.
5. Incomplete or incorrect resources.
6. Each graduated cylinder I had was different. 


Not enough graduated cylinders for the entire class
There are 2 different ways to over come this problem. First, you can always go to your principal and see if the school or district has set aside some money for their science department. It's always good to have some extra's on hand and I would purchase plastic ones if possible, but make sure they are pretty durable (you want them to last a while). It would also be wise to purchase (or have) a variety of graduated cylinders so that your students can see and have practice with multiple types. If they say "no" or there is no approval for funds, you can always try to use what you have and split the students in pairs or groups. 

No follow-up resources (exit ticket, power points or references for students)
After digging around and looking, I did find one resource, but it wasn't very good. The other resource that I found was in a Science Saurus book, but it wasn't complete or through (in my eyes). So, I did what most teachers do and created my own power point, and edited the one resource that I did find so that it would meet the needs of my students. I have since taken those resources and prepared them digitally (not the hand drawn ones that I first made) and my hope is that you can use them to help your students as well.

Here are some of my Reference Notebook Pages:

I've also created assessment pages:

And some much needed MIXED REVIEW Assessments:

Long preparation to set up stations & create keys
Unfortunately, the reality of this problem is that there is no shorter way to prepare for your students to have a hands-on experience in the classroom. Here are some tips that will hopefully help: 1) don't do it all yourself, get a parent or family member to help with set-up, clean-up and creating answer keys for the lab. 2) Use colored water instead of clear water; you & your students will be able to see the meniscus better. 3) If you are planning on doing water stations for more than one day, realize that water does evaporate and that the amount of water you put in a graduated cylinder one day, will slightly evaporate and throw off your answer key. So in that case, you would have to either change the key or use a dropper to add a little water back into each of the graduated cylinders. 

Nothing relevant for students to do once they completed their stations
I feel like we've all been there. I student finishes their work and we are left with the task of figuring out what can they do next so that I can help some of the students that aren't understanding the current concept or those who just need a little extra time. I've put together clever lists of tasks, mazes, told the student to read their library book... (the list goes on). There are very few activities or assignments that can extend beyond or reinforce more of what was just taught. Task cards are a great solution to this problem! You can even create them so that they are higher level and specifically geared towards and reinforce what you have been teaching that day.

Incomplete or incorrect resources
There are many times that I've come across a resource that just doesn't fit all my needs in regards to volume. They were great, but they didn't have a meniscus. There weren't enough examples for the students to work with. They had the meniscus, but the graduated cylinders pictured did not match the variety of graduated cylinders I had my students practice with. Simply put, I had to go out and create what was not available. I've finally been able to digitize and share this wonderful resource with you!

Each graduated cylinder I had was different
This is a common problem. I have graduated cylinders in my classroom that vary in increments, but the worksheets or assessments that I had didn't match that (they went up by 1, 2, 3... or 10, 20, 30...). My only way to solve this one was to create my own  resource.

Just for stopping by and reading this "interesting" post (hopefully you found it to be that way), I want to give you a few FREE resources!

Here's some of the "How to" Pages that you can use with your students:

If you're wondering what exactly a meniscus is and how you can use it, check out this FREEBIE:

Feel free to check out all my resources related to measuring liquid volume by clicking on the image:



If you have any additional comments or ideas/experiences that you have had with teaching liquid volume, please feel free to comment below. Thank you for reading! Have a blessed week!

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