Lesson plan

Which Holds More?

Fill ‘em up! This lesson teaches students to compare how much different containers can hold. Get ready for some overflowing fun!
Need extra help for EL students? Try theComparing ContainersPre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try theComparing ContainersPre-lesson.

Students will compare which container holds more.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Take out two cups of different sizes. Show students the snap cubes. Tell them that you are going to fill each cup with snap cubes. Ask which cup they think will hold more.
  • Have students turn and talk to a partner to share which cup they think will hold more.
(10 minutes)

Fill the cups with snap cubes, counting the cubes as you put them in. Record how many cubes each cup holds on the board.

  • Ask, “Now what if we fill the cups with pennies. Which do you think will hold more?”
  • Take a few answers from the class. Fill the cups with pennies, again counting as you put them in. Write the numbers of pennies on the board and ask students, “Did the same cup hold the most pennies and the most cubes? Why do you think that is/isn’t true?”
(10 minutes)
  • Put all the objects that can be filled (boxes, bags, and cups) in the front of the room. Have students work with a partner to choose one object to measure.
  • Hand out snap cubes and paper to each pair. Have students guess how many snap cubes their object can hold and write their guesses on the paper. Then instruct students to add snap cubes to fill their objects, counting as they go. When they are done filling the object, they should write the actual number of snap cubes they used on their papers.
(15 minutes)
  • Now have students choose three more objects to measure, following the same process that they did with their first object.
  • Have students draw or write what object they are measuring next to their estimates and actual measurements of how many snap cubes the objects hold.
  • When students are done measuring, they should circle the object that holds the most snap cubes and draw a rectangle around the object that holds the least snap cubes.


  • Have students measure the capacity of two objects and determine which one holds more and which one holds less.


  • Challenge students to order the objects they measured from the object that holds the least to the object that holds the most.
(5 minutes)

Assess students’ understanding by looking at the papers where they record their work.

(5 minutes)

Have pairs raise their hands to share which object that they measured held the most and which object held the least.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection