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Cooking with kids: teaching volume

Educators and parents often worry about how much regression students have during the summer. One way to reduce that is to teach your child things while doing every day activities.

measuring cups of different sizes
measuring cups of different sizes
Teach your kids conversions with this simple activity
Teach your kids conversions with this simple activity

Cooking easily lends itself to the teaching of both math and science objectives. One such overlapping concept would be volume, since liquids are involved in many recipes. Volume measures the amount of space something occupies and is studied in both math and science classes.

In the English system – for the purpose of cooking - volume is measured by teaspoons, tablespoons, fluid ounces, cups, pints, quarts and gallons. In the metric system, there are only two methods to measure volume: liters and milliliters. One liter is equal to 1,000 milliliters (milli- means thousand).

A fun activity to do with your child is called VA, VA, VA … VOLUME. It is taken from The Math Chef by D’Amico Drummond. You may want to keep the results sheet from this activity in your kitchen for future reference when you and your child cook together.

You will need the following materials for this activity: tablespoon, teaspoon, 1-cup (250-milliter) and 2-cup (500-mililiter) measuring cups with spouts, 1-quart and 1-gallon measuring containers (you can use a clean, empty milk jug for the gallon container), 1-liter measuring container (you can use a clean, empty soda bottle), funnel, pencil/pen and a notebook.

Procedure: Using your measuring devices and water, see how many teaspoons of water are needed to fill one tablespoon; how many tablespoons of water are needed to fill 1 cup; how many cups of water are needed to fill 1 pint; how many pints of water are needed to fill 1 quart and how many quarts are needed to fill a gallon. Additionally, fill the liter container with water, then using the funnel to ensure you don’t spill any water, pour the water into a quart container. Which of the two containers holds the most water? _______________By how much? ___________

Record your other answers on the chart below:

  1. 1 tablespoon = _____ teaspoons
  2. 1 cup = _____ tablespoons
  3. 1 pint = _____ cups
  4. 1 quart = _____ cups
  5. 1 quart = _____ pints
  6. 1 gallon = _____ quarts
  7. 1 liter = _____ milliliters
  8. 1 tablespoon = _____ fluid ounces
  9. 1 cup = _____ fluid ounces
  10. 1 pint = _____ fluid ounces
  11. 1 quart = _____ fluid ounces
  12. 1 gallon = _____ fluid ounces


  • 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons
  • 1 cup = 16 tablespoons
  • 1 pint = 2 cups
  • 1 quart = 4 cups
  • 1 quart = 2 pints
  • 1 gallon = 4 quarts
  • 1 liter = 1000 milliliters
  • 1 tablespoon = ½ fluid ounce
  • 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
  • 1 pint = 16 fluid ounces
  • 1 quart = 32 fluid ounces
  • 1 gallon = 128 fluid ounces