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Using Measurement Throughout Math Curriculum

Instructor: Vanessa Botts
Teaching measurement as part of ongoing instruction is important in both an academic and in a practical sense. In this lesson we will discuss various examples of activities to incorporate measurement into the curriculum.

Daily Measurements

Driving home after a hard day at work? Watch your speed or you might get pulled over! Baking a cake when you get home? You will need at least 2 cups of flour, but first you need to stop by the store to buy a pound of butter. As you may have noticed, all of these examples are common situations where some type of measurement is involved; speed, volume, and weight in this case.

Whether you are an adult thinking about buying 20 square feet of carpet, or a child trying to figure out how much taller you are than your best friend, not a day goes by when we do not use measurement in some form or another.

In addition to academic standards regarding teaching measurement, you as a teacher know that learning this important skill has infinite practical uses outside the classroom walls and our daily lives.

The Importance of Learning Measurement

Knowing about measurement is the cornerstone of many vocations and professions such as engineering, architecture, construction, nursing, and countless others. This is why it is important to incorporate the on-going teaching of measurement to students of all ages and levels. Many textbooks offer adequate lessons on measurement, however, the best way for students to learn is to have first-hand experience measuring.

Length and Area

Length and area are probably some of the easiest measurements you can utilize. You already have everything you need in the classroom or around school. One way to make measuring length and area engaging is to have your students measure it all!' Read below to see how it works.

Measure it All

You can have your students measure the length of things such as their pencils, books, or even the length of the classroom using any kind of measuring device. Once they are done with the length, why not have them figure out the perimeter and area for each item? For elementary or middle school students it might be fun to write down the item name and its measurements on the board as they get done with each. This activity will help students experience first-hand what length, perimeter, and area really mean.

For more advanced students, you can have them make the conversion from one measurement system (such as the S.I. to the metric system) and then verify their calculations with the physical measurement.

Pace Out

If you are feeling adventurous, you can leave the classroom and take the measuring outside! For this activity, you would need a measuring wheel. Choose to measure a distance between any two points and have your students measure it in feet (or meters).

They could measure and record the distance between the school entrance and the cafeteria or some other school landmark. Then they will walk the same distance (using a normal pace) and count and record how many steps it took them to make it from one point to the next. This activity would be appropriate for students of most ages and levels.

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