Capacity answers the question, "How much does it hold."


The Babylonians were the earliest to implement a unit for weight. The Babylonian mina is the earliest known weights found, weighing about 23 ounces. Archaeologists have found many carvings weighing according to this weight system. These measures were used to do trading in the Middle East and were later adopted by other countries.

The Chinese used the pitch of a pipe (which was filled with a substance) against a vessel to measure weight.

The Romans had their system adopted by Medieval Europe because of the need to trade. Their system unit for weight is the libra which is a pound in the US customary system.

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Units of Capacity

Within the customary system, the common units for measuring capacity are fluid ounces, cups, pints, quarts, and gallons.


A coke drink is about 12 fluid ounces.

A regular cup of coffee is about one cup.

A can of oil for the car is about one quart.

A large milk container is about a gallon.


From smallest to greatest the capacity measurements range from:

Fluid Ounces

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Reading a Measuring Cup

Most measuring cups have two scales on them. It is normally labeled in cups and ounces. The side marked in cups is labeled with fractions.

Dry foods are measured using cups and ounces measure liquids.

A measuring cup is mostly used when baking or cooking food. If an ingredient is not measured accurately, the food can turn out wrong or even burnt.


A shows

1 3/4 cups

14 ounces

B shows

1 cup

8 ounces

C shows

1/2 cup

4 ounces

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Conversion Chart


1 cup (c.)


8 fluid ounces (fl. oz.)

1 pint (pt.)


2 cups (c.)

1 quart (qt.)


4 cups (c.)

1 quart (qt.)


2 pints (pt.)

1 gallon (gal.)


4 quarts (qt.)

When converting any unit of measurements if you want:

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Drill and Practice

Click on the beaker of the measurement which accurately answers the amount of weight each item would hold.

1. The gas you put in the car

12 gallons

12 quarts

2. The amount of shampoo in your shampoo bottle

16 cups

16 fluid ounces

3. The water used to take a shower

15 cups

15 gallons

4. A cup of orange juice

6 fluid ounces

6 quarts

5. The amount of paint needed to paint an entire house

10 quarts

10 gallons

Answer the next questions on a sheet of paper and turn them in when you have completed them.

Write the equivalents.

6) 2 cups = ____fluid ounces

7) 24 quarts = _______ gallons

8) 15 quarts = _____pints ____cups

9) 20 fluid ounces =___ cups_____fluid ounces

10) 3 gallons 7 quarts = _____gallons_____quarts

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