EL Support Lesson

Comparing Containers

In this highly engaging lesson plan, your students will have a chance to compare volume using water play. Can be used as a stand-alone or support lesson for the **Which Holds More?** lesson plan.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Which Holds More? lesson plan.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

Which set of standards are you looking for?

This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the Which Holds More? lesson plan.

Students will compare which container holds more.


Students will be able to explain how to compare which container holds more using tactile supports.

(2 minutes)
  • Gather the students together in a circle for the lesson.
  • Introduce the lesson by holding up two different sized cups and saying, "I have a problem. I am trying to find the best cup to use when we have juice at snack time. I want to use the cup that holds the most juice."
  • Hold up two cups and ask, "Which one holds more?" Have students point to the one they think holds more.
(5 minutes)
  • Introduce new vocabulary words using the vocabulary cards and by using gestures to define each word (for example, gesture with your hands up high to show the word tall).
  • Place the two cups on a surface to catch the overflow water (e.g., a shallow pan), and then use a think-aloud to answer the question: "How could I find out which cup holds more?"
  • Model pouring the water into each of the cups and then using the target vocabulary words to describe what you see. "This cup is full. How can I check if the other cup holds more, less, or the same amount of water? I am going to pour the water into it."
  • Complete your instruction by comparing the water each cup holds using the target vocabulary words, e.g., "This cup holds more water. I know it holds more because when I use the smaller cup to fill it, it takes more of the cups."
(15 minutes)
  • Draw a Venn diagram using the visual vocabulary cards "more," "less," "same" as the headings.
  • Ask students to think about if the two cups held more, less, or the same amount of water. Have students turn and talk to share with a partner. Refer back to the vocabulary cards as needed.
  • Explain that now you will be giving students a chance to explore different containers to see which container holds more.
  • Show each of the water stations (tubs, cups, water in pouring containers) to be used and go over expectations of students (how many students should be at each station, that the water stays in the tub, etc).
  • Pair students together and send off to one of the stations.
  • As students work, encourage them to describe what they see using the new vocabulary words (pass out cards to each pair as needed).
(10 minutes)
  • Gather students back and ask for their reflection on the activity by refering to the Venn digram and asking, "Which of your containers held more? How do you know? Can you describe what you did?"
  • Provide guiding questions and sentence starters to support students in describing their process: "The __ __ __ __ held more." "I know because __ __ __ __." "I __ __ __ __ water."
  • Display and then pass out the Which Holds More worksheet and explain that students will get to draw in the first two images on their own. They can continue with the rest if time allows.


  • Provide definitions of vocabulary words ("more," "less," "overflow") in student home language (L1).
  • Pair students together with someone who speaks their home language for them to describe what they see in their home language (L1).
  • Work with students in a smaller group to further model using new vocabulary to describe comparing different containers. Provide opportunities for students to echo you.


  • Ask students to think about other ways they could test which holds more using cups. Have students share their ideas with their partner.
  • Invite students to define the new vocabulary words in their own way using pictures or words.
(5 minutes)
  • Assess students' ability to compare volume of containers throughout the lesson by taking note of student responses, questions, and conversations within student pairs.
  • Collect worksheets at the end of the lesson to assess if students were able to accurately compare two containers to determine which holds more.
(2 minutes)
  • Gather the class back together go over the worksheet as a group. Have the class share out which containter holds more.
  • Encourage students to share how they know using the sentence frame: "I know __ __ __ __ holds more because __ __ __ __."

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items