# What is Volume in Science? - Lesson for Kids

## What Is Volume?

Look at an object next to you and describe it. There are many ways to describe an item. For example, you might talk about its color, shape, and size or whether it's hard or soft. When you talk about an object in this way--based on what it looks like, feels like, or by taking simple measurements--you are describing its **physical properties**. Objects have many physical properties. One physical property that you may not have heard of is volume.

**Volume** refers to the amount of space the object takes up. In other words, volume is a measure of the size of an object, just like height and width are ways to describe size. If the object is hollow (in other words, empty), volume is the amount of water it can hold. Try this at home: Take a large cup and a small cup. Fill the small cup with water, then pour the water into the big cup. Since the amount of water that filled the small cup is not enough to fill the large cup, what can you figure out about the volume of the cups? The smaller cup has less volume!

## Is Volume the Same as Weight?

It is important to keep in mind that volume is NOT the same as weight. Weight is also a physical property, but unlike volume, it refers to how heavy something is. For example, something that is large and made of plastic, like an empty milk jug, is going to weigh a lot less than something that is large and made of metal, like a cooking pot.

Volume is ONLY related to the amount of space an object takes up, so you can't measure it with a scale (like the one you might have in the bathroom). Instead, you measure volume by taking measurements of each side of the object and multiplying them all together. But that's a different lesson for math class! A simpler way to measure volume is with measuring cups.

## An Experiment

Looking at this image, you can tell that the shapes look totally different. However, these two shapes actually have the same volume. This means that if they were containers, they would hold the same amount of water. Try this at home! Grab a parent, go into the kitchen, and try to find two containers that look different but hold the same amount of water. If you can find two containers like that, you can tell everyone that they have the same volume!

## Lesson Summary

**Volume** is the physical property of an object that describes how much space it takes up. If the object is hollow, volume is the amount of water it can hold. Containers can have the same volume and be completely different shapes.

## Learning Outcomes

Once you've watched this video on volume in science, it might become easier for you to:

- Define volume
- Distinguish between volume and weight
- Experiment with containers to find volume

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.

Create your account

## Calculating Volume Activity

In this activity, we will measure some containers and convert the volume we measure into ounces. Then, we will test our measurement accuracy by seeing if the container can hold the number of ounces of water we calculated. This activity takes precision and some calculations - some help from an adult is suggested. After completing the activity, students will have a better understanding of what volume actually means - it is the space that an object takes up.

## Materials

- Cylindrical or rectangular containers (empty cans of different sizes, empty plastic food storage containers, etc.)
- Ruler with centimeters
- Paper and pencil
- Calculator
- Measuring cup with ounce measurements
- Water

## Instructions

1) Measure your container to calculate the volume.

- If you are using a cylindrical container, you will need to measure the diameter of the can (the distance across the circle part of the can that divides the circle in half) and the height of the can in centimeters. Write the measurements down. Then use the calculator to calculate the volume using this formula: V = 3.14 *height*(diameter / 2) ^2 . It might be easier to type it in as 3.14*height*diameter*diameter / 4. Write down the volume. This is the volume measured in cubic centimeters.
- If you are using a rectangular container, you will need to measure the length, width and height of the container in centimeters. Write the measurements down. Then, use the calculator to calculate the volume using this formula: V=length*width*height. Write down the volume. This is the volume measured in cubic centimeters.

2) Convert the volume from step 1) into ounces. To do this, take your volume and divide by 29.574 using the calculator. Write down the new version of the volume. This changes the volume to be measured in ounces.

3) Fill a measuring cup with ounces of water equal to the ounces you calculated in step 2). Try to be as accurate as you can.

4) Either over a sink or outside (to not make a mess) - pour the water from the measuring cup into your container. How close was your calculation? If you were very accurate, the water will fill the container up almost perfectly (a little may spill or it may be a little short due to errors in measurement or rounding). If a lot of water spills or there's a lot of room left in the container, retry measuring your container and recalculate.

### Register to view this lesson

### Unlock Your Education

#### See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

##### Become a Study.com member and start learning now.

Become a MemberAlready a member? Log In

Back### Resources created by teachers for teachers

I would definitely recommend Study.com to my colleagues. Itâ€™s like

**a teacher waved a magic wand and did the work for me.** I feel like itâ€™s a lifeline.