Another day we pulled out measuring cups and spoons and had them estimate how water it takes to fill a coffee cup. We discussed starting with the largest amount (the cup) before using the 1/4 cup or even table or teaspoons. The kids were so excited when they thought it was full but then added 1/2 teaspoon and it still didn't overflow! There was lots of cheering and trying not to bump the table which was difficult! I pointed out to them that the water actually binds together at the top and rises above the mug before it overflows. I pulled Jack and BJ over for a quick lesson about surface tension and meniscus.
This week, I gave them a little homework to finish up with capacity. I had them estimate how much water it takes to brush their teeth at night. At first this was difficult for them to imagine since they just run their toothbrush under water and don't use a cup to wash their mouths out (actually, Jorge uses a cup). So, we went into the bathroom with a cup of water and a pen. I modeled for them how I brush my teeth (boy, was that funny when Paula put the pen in her mouth like a toothbrush!) and how they can use a cup of water rather than let the sink run. What a great opportunity for a push for water conservation!
Also, for homework, they needed to find out how many cups of water each person in their family drinks in one day. Then we graphed the results. I was so proud of the kids because they did the graphing independently. Once everyone was done, I asked lots of questions about each family. As we discussed the results, it was really easy for them to answer "How many more cups of water did Jack drink than Lucy?" because they placed their cups with accuracy. This allowed them to use the graph as they should to get a quick answer rather than needing to count all the cups. I was so very proud of them, I just had to blog about it!