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Stage 1 - Stage 3

Measure and estimate capacity of objects


Capacity is a word to describe how much something holds. We often use this when we think about liquids. 


Estimating capacities

When we estimate a capacity, we work out roughly how much something will hold. Watch this video to learn more about how to estimate the capacity of objects.

To estimate capacities it helps if we compare them to known items, such as, one litre of milk or a 25 litre bag of soil. We call this strategy benchmarking.

Now try these questions for yourself.


Worked examples

Question 1

Choose the best estimate for the capacity of a wheelbarrow.

  1. $1200$1200 litres


    $50$50 litres


    $420$420 litres


    $2$2 litres


Question 2

Jug B has a capacity of $2$2 litres.

Jug B = $2$2 L
  1. Estimate the capacity of jug A.

    $10$10 L


    $1$1 L


    $250$250 mL


    $1$1 mL



Measuring quantities

We can also measure quantities using containers with a measurement scale on them. This means we work out the exact amount in the container. Watch this video to learn about reading measurement scales.

Now try these questions for yourself.


Worked examples

Question 3

What is the volume of water contained in the measuring cylinder?

Question 4

Bill's drink bottle has a capacity of $200$200 mL, and Elizabeth's drink bottle has a capacity of $400$400 mL. Bill drinks $4$4 bottles every day and Elizabeth drinks $2$2 bottles every day.

Choose the correct statement:

  1. Elizabeth drinks more than Bill drinks.


    Bill drinks the same amount as Elizabeth drinks.


    Bill drinks more than Elizabeth drinks.



To estimate capacity think of other known objects and then compare.

To read a measurement, look at the scale and then read the value.

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