Representing & Interpreting Measurements: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 Line Plots
  • 1:31 Adding Measurements
  • 2:33 Subtracting Measurements
  • 3:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Goldie McCalvin

I currently hold a Master's degree in Inclusive Education. I have been an Adult Education Instructor for 11 years. I teach GED prep classes and college prep.

Many times we are asked to look at measurements, and sometimes they include visual information, or line plots. In this lesson, we'll pretend to be scientists, plotting or placing fractions on a line graph.

Line Plots

Line plots are graphs that tell us how many times something has happened; they're ways of counting many pieces of information. We usually use line plots when we have small groups of numbers.

Let's pretend we're scientists and we need to know just how big insects can get. The best way to find out is to start measuring them. After we measure our insects, we record that information on a piece of paper. Now we take that information and enter it on a line plot.

Here are the measurements for our bugs:

  • Bug A: 1/2 inch
  • Bug B: 1/4 inch
  • Bug C: 1/2 inch
  • Bug D: 1/2 inch
  • Bug E: 1/2 inch
  • Bug F: 1/8 inch
  • Bug G: 1/6 inch
  • Bug H: 1/3 inch
  • Bug I: 1/3 inch
  • Bug J: 1/2 inch

As you can see, we only need values of 1/8, 1/4, 1/6, 1/3, and 1/2 because those are the measurements of our bugs. First, we'll create a number line, and place those measurements correctly on the line. Next, we'll represent each bug as an 'X' above the size of the insect. When we're finished, we'll see that there are:

  • Five bugs that measure 1/2 inch
  • Two bugs that measure 1/3 inch
  • One bug that measures 1/4 inch
  • One bug that measures 1/6 inch
  • One bug that measures 1/8 inch

Example of a Line Plot
Line plot of bug lengths

Adding Measurements

Now that we have our line plot, we can see the measurements of our bugs more clearly. But if we wanted to know the combined length of two bugs, we'd have to add their measurements together. What if we added the length of Bug H to Bug I? Well that's easy: these fractions have common denominators, or bottom numbers, so we can add 1/3 + 1/3 to get 2/3.

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