Measurement has to be one of my favorite topics to teach in math. This week students have been learning to measure to the nearest 1/4 inch, which can be challenging for students. That’s one of the reasons it’s beneficial to teach reading a ruler after your fraction unit. It’s a great tie-in to teaching fractions on a number line.I start my measurement unit with reading a ruler to the nearest one-fourth inch. My students typically come to me with a solid foundation of how to read a ruler to the nearest inch, so I’m able to hit the ground running.
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I introduced reading a ruler by having students label a large ruler with 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 increments of each inch. I like tying this lesson into reading and labeling fractions on a number line.
Then, I gave my students some very basic independent practice. This allowed me to see who needed a little extra work. One of the most common mistakes was confusing which whole number to write, so I’ve addressed that with those who need it. I made two of these worksheets, so I could use the additional copy to reassess as needed.
Once the majority of the class was ready to dive-in to some authentic linear measurement lessons, we completed two fun and engaging measurement activities. In one activity, students measured the lengths of different objects around the classroom. They found the length of a book, scissors, glue bottle, and glue stick. They also measured the length and width of a piece of notebook paper. I tried to choose common objects that would be easily accessible, as well as objects that would not be too difficult to measure. Some students tried to round all of their measurements to the nearest inch, rather than the nearest one-fourth inch, so we had to work on that a little.
We also completed a measurement scavenger hunt by finding items with a given linear measurement. I’ve done something like this in the past, but this had a little twist, because of the measurements with 1/2, 1/4, and 3/4 inches. This was by far my students’ favorite activity.
To help students develop a better understanding of inches and centimeters, they completed an activity where they measured the same objects in both inches and centimeters to compare the measurement units.
Students also completed a units of measurement sort. While this may seem common sense to us, it’s often quite challenging to students!
Measurement Treasure Hunt
Who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt!?! In this measurement activity, students use a treasure map and measurement directions to find the location of a buried treasure. It is really so much fun! One of these days, I’m going to find a way to convert the measurements from centimeters to feet or yards and take this activity outdoors.
Another fun way to get students outdoors is with this paper airplane activity. Have students design paper airplanes and let them fly the airplanes outdoors. After each flight, students should use a different measurement tool to determine how far their airplane flew.
Never underestimate the power of a broken ruler. This requires students to apply all that they know about reading a ruler to find the correct measurement. Students often think that it’s an impossible task, so you may need to provide explicit modeling.
Today, students created a line plot by measuring ten pencils to the nearest 1/4 inch (I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture). They recorded the length of each pencils in the table on the top of their page. Then, students used that information to create a line plot to show the lengths of the pencils. At the bottom of the page, students asked two questions that could be answered by using the line plot. Ex: How many pencils were longer than five inches?
After students have guided practice working with line plots, I like to let them create their own line plot. The only requirement is that they must be able to measure the topic of the line plot to the nearest one-fourth inch.
Another one of my favorite measurement activities is Measurement art project.
To prepare, I precut a large variety of rectangles in different sizes and colors. I’ve learned to make all rectangles of a particular color the same size-this makes grading so much easier! I like to use about 8 or 9 different colors and try to have a good variety of sizes of rectangles. Since it is important for my students to be able to measure to the nearest 1/4 inch, I cut several rectangles with 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 in their lengths, but to modify this activity all of the rectangles could be a whole number in length.
In this task students create a person, animal, or any object using the precut rectangles. Students create their design and then find the measurement of each rectangle they used for their Measurement Man. Another modification to the task is to have students measure the length in two different units of measure to see the comparison. My students had so much fun with this lesson, and I wanted to share some of their creations.
What a pretty face!
My students had so much fun with this task! Learning is so much more authentic when students are active and participating in meaningful tasks.
Measurement Task Cards
I also have students use my Measurement Task Cards for a little extra practice in our measurement centers.