Maximum Capacity Lesson Plan

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Grade level: 3-4


Students will demonstrate ability to estimate using units of mass and to add and multiply toward that purpose.

Common Core Standards:
This activity reinforces common core standard CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.A.2 for third grade and CCSS.Math.Content.4.MD.A.2 for fourth grade.

Warm-Up Activity:

Teacher poses to students the question of getting close to a certain capacity without going over. This clip from The Price is Right shows an example of a game that involves this skill.

Warm-up Activity 2:

Teacher explains the concept of weight capacity often found in elevators. Different elevators have different capacities. Have each student write their weight (or any weight if they are sensitive) on a notecard and have them tape the notecard to their shirt. Designate a space in the classroom that can be used as a mock elevator and have another student determine an appropriate weight capacity (probably between 400 – 800 pounds). Have another student perform the math, by directing students into the elevator. Challenge the student to direct as many students into the elevator as possible without exceeding the weight capacity. When the student is satisfied, add up the weights of the students in the elevator to determine if student was successful. Repeat as needed while changing up weight capacities.

Main Activity:

Maximum Capacity: Teacher should show the student the instructional video for Maximum Capacity before allowing them to play. Students play Maximum Capacity on classroom computers or iPads. Challenge students to bring at least 25 gorillas to the top floor for the Gorilla Ball.

Assessment Activity:

Each student measures his or her height and/or arm span in centimeters and writes it on a sticker, which will then be stuck to the student’s shirt. The students go to the P.E. field, gymnasium, or other area with sufficient open space. The teacher places two traffic cones or barricades x meters apart. Students estimate how many students it will take to reach from cone A to cone B with the students standing fingertip to fingertip with arms outstretched (arm span) or lying down end to end (head to head and foot to foot) (height). Then they check the accuracy of their estimate by getting into position. Repeat with various distances.

Alternately, teacher declares that exactly y students must bridge the distance between the barricades with the least number of human chain centimeters left over. Students must decide which five students to use to bridge this particular distance. Repeat with various distances.

This activity relies on the skill, targeted in the Horrendous Soup activity, of converting among metric units of distance.

Assessment Activity Two:

Print out the attached Maximum Capacity Fun Assessment Sheet