Comparing volume and capacity

Learning focus

Learn about capacity and volume, specifically relating it to the words 'full', 'nearly full', 'half full', 'nearly empty' and 'empty'.

This lesson includes:

  • a catch-up quiz
  • two slideshows
  • two activities


To get started, let's see how well you know this topic already. Take the catch-up quiz below to find out.


You will be shown different everyday objects in the two slideshows and asked which object can hold more liquid.

In the first slideshow you will learn about capacity, which is the total amount of liquid a container can hold.

On the table rests a bottle, a large measuring jug, a smaller measuring jug, a glass, three measuring spoons and a bucket. Above the items are two labels; Label 1: Capacity is the total amount of liquid a container can hold; Label 2: When something holds as much liquid as it can, we say it is at full capacity.

Capacity is the total amount of liquid a container can hold and when the container is full it is called at 'full capacity'.

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Volume can change because it is a measure of the amount of liquid in the container. The volume will change if you pour liquid away or pour more in.

Look through the second slideshow to find out more.

You are asked to fill in the blank space in the sentence on this slide about bottle A, which is half full, and bottle B, which is nearly empty.

Do bottles A and B have the same capacity? Do they have the same volume? Fill in the blank, does bottle A have more or less volume of liquid than bottle B?

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Activity 1

The first worksheet today is perfect for learning how to identify the capacity of different containers from around your house.

Measuring capacity at home

Activity 2

Print out the next worksheet and answer the questions about the different capacities.

Introduce capacity

Click here for the answer sheet


Test your skills on this topic even further by playing Karate Cats Maths - see if you can collect a new costume for your cat!

Game - Karate Cats Maths

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