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* *Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding
Measuring Length - Section 3: Using Metric Rulers

I don't just want my students to just know **how** to measure. I want them to **understand** the mathematical reasoning represented by a ruler and be able to explain what each line means.

Having students discuss the meaning of each line, and the smallest and greatest decimal in a measurement, helps them conceptualize the meaning of different lengths. Over time, I hope that they develop an appreciation for the metric system and see the reasoning and purpose for their mathematical skills and knowledge.

*The Mathematical Approach to Understanding Length Using the Metric System*

*Developing a Conceptual Understanding: The Mathematical Approach to Understanding Length Using the Metric System*

# Measuring Length

Lesson 2 of 11

## Objective: SWBAT: Accurately measure the length of various objects

#### Do Now

*5 min*

I want students to think about the purpose of a ruler and how it is designed. Specifically, I want them to realize that there are 10 millimeters in a centimeter, based on the work that they have done with converting metric units. This do now activity helps to tie what they already know to something that they have done before, measuring, just with different units.

I ask students to draw a picture of how you think a metric ruler should look if it contains only centimeters and millimeters.

I give students time to draw their rulers in their notebooks.

We then review and I ask students to share their ideas:

Most students realize that there should be 10 millimeters that make up 1 centimeter. I then model to mathematical logic behind their reasoning (see photo):

I model how you can convert 1 centimeter to millimeters by either multiplying by 10 or using the staircase method to move the decimal one place to the right and adding a 0.

I then draw a ruler on the board and show that there are 10 millimeters (see photo).

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#### Reading a Metric Ruler

*10 min*

I like to teach kids how to read measurements off of a piece of paper before just giving them a ruler and having the measure. I've found that students are more successful after using a number line to visualize what measuring length means from a mathematical standpoint.

I first ask students, *"Based on our ruler that we just created on the board, what is the smallest and largest decimals that we will have when measuring to the nearest millimeter?" *

Answers: .1 is the smallest decimal and .9 is the largest decimal

This strategy helps students when reading their ruler. I then review the first measuring problem and model how to read the ruler.

I tell students to decide the whole number they measuring to and then add the decimals. This helps assure that they are accounting for all numbers in each length measurement.

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#### Using Metric Rulers

*10 min*

To add a sense of humor to the lesson, while getting across the message of proper ruler use, I have students take an oath.

I have students raise their right hands and then repeat after me:

"I, (*state your name)*, promise to follow rules for rulerr use. A ruler is not: a back scratcher, catapult, comb or anything else that does not include drawing a straight line or measuring the length of an object. So help me science!"

If kids are misusing a ruler, I simply state that they are violating the oath that they took and they know to stop. Well, some know to stop :)

I then go over tips to follow to measure accurately:

1) Start at the zero line or the end, depending on your ruler

2) Take your time and include units

I then give students this worksheet and have them practice using a ruler.

We then review our answers as a class.

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- LESSON 1: Stairway to Learning! Moving Your Way to Understanding Metric Unit Conversions
- LESSON 2: Measuring Length
- LESSON 3: Length x Width x Height, Gives You the Vooooolume!
- LESSON 4: Measuring Liquid Volume
- LESSON 5: Measuring Volume of Irregular Objects Using Water Displacement
- LESSON 6: Mass vs. Weight: Using Concept Cartoons and Evidence-based Argumentation to Help Deepen Student Understanding
- LESSON 7: I Can Measure Mass, Not Weight, With A Triple Beam Balance!
- LESSON 8: Using IVCDV Charts
- LESSON 9: What Is Sound And How Does It Work?
- LESSON 10: Can You Hear It Now? Engineering Cheap and Effective Sound Amplifiers for Smartphones (2-3 Day Lesson)
- LESSON 11: Day 3-4: Construction of Sound Amplifiers