Liquid Volume Inquiry Experiment

Inquiry: Does the volume (amount) of a liquid change if it is placed in a different container?

Liquids can take the shape of their container, but have a definite/fixed/certain volume

1. For this inquiry experiment, set up as many stations with two measuring cups/beakers as you have available. I had 7 stations (14 measuring cups)

I tried to place a small measuring cup with a bigger measuring cup.

A small beaker with a big beaker

a tall skinny beaker with a short, wide measuring cup (they all must have 1 cup labeled)

2. Once, all stations are set up with two measuring cups/beakers, place 1 cup of water in only one of the cups. Students will take turns pouring water into the empty measuring cup to see if the volume of a liquid changes when it is placed in a different container.

Studens will get the most conceptual understanding that Volume (amount) of liquid stays the same even if the shape of the container changes if they are able to see this work with different shapes and sizes of measuring cups that all can measure 1 cup. 1 cup in a small measuing cup is the same as 1 cup in a measuring cup that can hold 2 cups. The amount/volume of the liquid stays the same. However, if you only have one kind of measure cup available, you could still make this activity work in small groups or a whole class observation while you do the pouring. You may use this inquiry recording sheet however you see fit! :)

I had my students buddy up and SCOOT to each station. (2014/15) When it was their turn at a station, the first partner would look at 1 cup of water in the container it was in and then pour it into the empty container. Then the second partner would check to see the amount in the new container. Then the second partner would have a turn pouring it back into the original measuring cup/beaker.

(2015/16) This year, I had students work in 4 groups. On each table set, I put a cup, pint, quart, and gallon. Students took turns pouring the cup into the other containers and discussing if it was still the same amount of space/1 cup.


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Created: Jan 17, 2016

Updated: Feb 22, 2018


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