Students will learn the importance of accurate measurement both in customary and metric units.
- Millions to Measure
- Measuring Penny
- Ruler with customary
and metric measures
- Measuring cups:
customary and metric
- Scales(s): customary
- Tape measure
- Measuring Me worksheet
- Measuring Me 2 worksheet
- Millions to Measure, by David M. Schwartz; ISBN 0-688-12916-1
- Measuring Penny, by Loreen Leedy; ISBN 0-8050-6572-5
- The Write Math: Writing in the Math Classroom, by Cathy Marks
Krpan; ISBN 0-7690-2505-6
- Investigations in Number, Data, and Space: Measurement
BenchmarksEstimating and Measuring, by Catherine Anderson;
Background for Teachers
This activity is a good cross-curricular investigation of Objectives 1 & 2
of Standard IV of the 5th grade mathematics Core Curriculum. It
relies on two pieces of literature, Millions to Measure and Measuring
Penny. Students will learn the importance of accurate measurement both
in customary and metric units. They will gain an understanding of the
relationship between units of measurement in the metric system. Students
will be able to compare and contrast customary measure and metric.
Intended Learning Outcomes
2. Become mathematical problem solvers.
3. Reason mathematically.
4. Communicate mathematically.
Invitation to Learn
Have each student measure his/her foot and report their measurement
on board. Read Millions to Measure. Journal the following question,
Should the U.S. join the rest of the world and measure only in the
metric system? Discuss the journal responses.
- Read Measuring Penny.
- Discuss how this story compares with
Millions to Measure.
- In cooperative groups, each student will measure (in
both units of
measure) and record their body parts listed on their Measuring
- In groups, students take their measurements (to the
inch or inch) and average each body part to obtain the average
measurement representing the students in their groups. Remind
the class that the mean is an average obtained by adding the set of
data for the same body part and dividing by the number of units
in that set.
- As a class, create a chart or graph representing the comparison
all the groups in the classroom.
- Using the Measuring Me 2 worksheet, students
directions and complete the assignment. (This may take a few
days.) The teacher should stress accurate measuring and
creativity. Students can choose to present their work in a variety
of formats. Discuss/brainstorm the different formats that could be
used for publishing this assignment.
- Discuss the Extension activities.
Optional: Model with class an
example. Use brainstorming and consensus to chose activity.
- Students create their own
unit of measure using a body part.
Explain their reasoning and give three examples of its use.
- Each student
could create a book (see How Much is a Million?, step 4,), in the same pattern as Measuring Penny,
titled Measuring Me.
- Students create their own menu for a simple dinner
appropriate portions using the measuring cups, spoons, and a
scale. Provide guidelines on size of portions or the size of the
Students and their families
can use Measuring Penny as a model
for measuring one of their pets and comparing to other animals
found around the home and/or neighborhoods. Use the Measuring
Me 2 worksheet as an outline for this home activity.
- Observe students while they are working in groups
individually. Did they work well in cooperative groups? Were the
materials used properly and accurately? Could the students
present and discuss their opinions and feelings?
- Evaluate the completed
Measuring Me worksheets.
- In cooperative groups, students will find
the measurements to
create the average student representing their group. This also
reinforces the concept of mean.
- Did the student adequately journal this
activity with procedure,
observations, and conclusions described and illustrated?
Van Zoest, L. & Enyart, A. (1998). Discourse, of course: encouraging
conversations, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle Schools,4(3), 151-157.
Students should be encouraged to defend, question, and clarify their
mathematical ideas. Discussion is one of the most important components
to students gaining mathematical understanding. If they can express
themselves orally, then journaling becomes easier. Teachers should listen
carefully to the students ideas. The teachers role is to facilitate
discussion, providing information, clarification, and modeling if needed.
Students are to investigate, form conjectures, and determine mathematical
evidence to be used in their discussions and journaling.
NCTM. (2000). Principles and Standards for school mathematics. (Online at
In learning measurement, students should be actively involved,
drawing on familiar and accessible contexts, e.g., body parts. The first
step is to understand measurable attributes of objects and the units of
measurementboth customary and metric. Measurement is the bridge
from number sense to geometry. Connection(s) must be made to realworld
applications. Students should investigate a wide variety of