A children's book is used as a basis for activities which ask students to measure objects in the classroom and make comparisons about them.
Main Curriculum Tie:
Mathematics Grade 1
Measure lengths indirectly and by iterating length units. 2.
Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps. Limit to contexts where the object being measured is spanned by a whole number of length units with no gaps or overlaps.
Inch by Inch, by Leo Lionni; ISBN 0688132839
How Big is a Foot?, by Rolf Myller; ISBN 044040495-9
Twelve Snails to One Lizard: A Tale of Mischief & Measurement, by Susan Hightower; ISBN-
10:0689804520 or ISBN-13:9780439154307
Counting on Frank, by Rod Clement; ISBN-10:039570393X or ISBN-13:978-0395703939
Measuring Penny, by Loreen Leedy; ISBN-10:0805065725 or ISBN-13:978-0805065725
Background For Teachers:
Students will understand the attribute of length, develop a process
of measuring, understand concepts related to units of measure,
use estimating to measure, and learn how to use these processes in
everyday life. This lesson also allows the teacher to integrate literature
into the mathematics curriculum.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude.
2. Develop social skills and ethical responsibility
Invitation to Learn
Ask students to estimate about how many books tall they are.
(Students could use their Math Journals to measure with.) Have
some students share their approximations and then verify the
results. Discuss with the students that what they just did was use
a nonstandard unit of measurement to measure the length of their
bodies. Following the investigation, briefly review what it means to
measure the length of an object. Explain to the students that today
they will be measuring objects in a different way, as opposed to using a
- Read the story Inch by Inch to the class. Ask the students:
- Why would the inchworm be able to measure different
- How does he measure?
- What do you think the inchworm will do when the
nightingale asks the worm to measure her song?
- Can you measure a song?
- How can you measure a song?
- Explain to the students that they are going to measure just like
the inchworm did. They need to choose a partner, or you may
set this up ahead of time. Once they are with their partner, they
need to get the tools they need to complete this activity. They
will need an inchworm ruler for both students and one copy of
the Inchworm Measurement blackline.
- Explain to the students that each team will find 10 objects in
the classroom. They will estimate the length of each item, and
then use their inchworms to measure each item. They will need
to record their data on the Inchworm Measurement blackline.
- Advanced learners could use night crawlers in addition to their
inchworms. Night crawlers could be equivalent to a foot. They
could then repeat the activity using both night crawlers and
- Repeat this activity using centimeters and meters.
- By working in pairs, students who do not understand or have
other special needs can still participate and have a successful
- Have students take an Inchworm Measurement blackline home
and measure 10 items there. Instruct them to bring the
information back to school.
- Compare the items that the students measured in their
homes. Find the smallest measurement as well as the largest
measurement that was presented.
- Observe students’ participation in class discussions and during
the inchworm activity.
- As a class, have each group share their favorite recorded
measurement for an object they found in the classroom. Record
each object’s name and its measurement on the board/or on a
- Compare the measurements the students recorded.
- Collect the students’ worksheets to check for reasonable
estimates and measurements.
- Math Journal – Have students record 5 items they could
measure using inches and 5 items they would not choose to
measure by inches.
Battista, M. (1994). Teacher Beliefs and the Reform Movement in Mathematics Education. Phi Delta Kappan.75(6) 462-470.
Recent efforts to make the mathematics curriculum consistent with
the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics “Standards” will fail
unless teachers’ beliefs about mathematics change. Teacher educators,
school officials, political leaders, and teachers themselves must first
acknowledge a serious problem with the way our society views
mathematics. The next step is reforming the institutions affecting
teachers’ education and working environment.
McClain, K., Cobb, P., Gravemeijer, K., and Estes, B. (1999). Developing Mathematical
Reasoning Within the Context of Measurement. In Stiff, V. and Curcio, R. (Eds.) Developing Mathematical Reasoning in Grades K-12, 1999 Yearbook. (93-106). Reston,
VA; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
This paper describes how one group of students developed
personally meaningful ways to reason mathematically within the
context of measurement. Episodes taken from a first grade classroom
in which a 4-month teaching experiment was conducted are
presented. One of the goals of the teaching experiment was to develop
instructional sequences designed to support first grade students’
construction of meaningful understandings for measurement and
mental computation and estimation strategies for numbers up to 100.
A primary focus when developing the instructional sequences was to
support students’ multiple interpretations of problem situations. The
episodes provide a setting for the examination of measurement as a
context for supporting students’ construction of sophisticated ways
to think and reason mathematically. The intent of the instructional
sequences developed in the course of the teaching experiment is
outlined first. The rest of the paper consists of descriptions of
episodes from the classroom that highlight students’ ability to reason
mathematically while investigating issues related to measurement.
Created Date :
Jul 08 2008 21:19 PM