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Identification of Equivalent Customary Units of Capacity

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Credit: Lori L. Stalteri
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/69655432@N00/6566610871
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Can you imagine being a chef who only makes soup? Well, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, there is a restaurant that specializes in soup. The “Loaf and Ladle” has been a feature in Portsmouth for many years, and their specialty is soup. In fact, on any given day you can choose from three or four different types of soup all accompanied by homemade bread. What if you were the person in charge of making enough soup to feed restaurant guests?

Why It Matters

If you were the chef at the Loaf and Ladle, you would have to know how to choose a soup pot large enough to accommodate the clientele, and that is where understanding customary units of capacity becomes essential. Most cooking pots are measured in quarts. You can find stock pots that measure 100 quarts, 12 quarts, 30 quarts, 50 quarts, 75 quarts, etc. How can you figure out which one to use? This is a task that chefs have to tackle every day!

Credit: Jebulon
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Casseroles_cuivre_Vaux.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

If you know how many cups of soup on average the restaurant serves in a day, then you can figure out approximately how many quarts of soup you will need to make. Imagine that you have a 30-quart stock pot. How many cups of soup can you get from that pot?

Well, you know that there are four cups in a quart, which means that there are 30 \times 4 = 120 cups of soup in one 30-quart pot. Now if you knew that you needed triple that amount of soup, then it would make the most sense to use a 100-quart stock pot. Better to have some soup left over then not enough!

See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GpfO0ov-UU

Explore More

Play some fun games on measuring capacity at the first link below. Follow the instructions at the next activity to further explore capacity.

http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/math-games/pour-score/

http://illuminations.nctm.org/LessonDetail.aspx?id=L856

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Lori L. Stalteri; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/69655432@N00/6566610871; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Jebulon; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Casseroles_cuivre_Vaux.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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