Classroom Design Plans

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SWBAT measure real life objects using nonstandard units.

Big Idea

Students pretend to be interior designers in this hands on measurement lesson! They think about how to represent classroom objects in relation to each other as they create a classroom design plan.

Setting Up the Learning

5 minutes

CCSS Context:

To approach this standard, I chose to give students a real life scenario to engage with-designers measure to create plans. This makes the the learning relevant and rigorous. Students have to measure the real life lengths without any gaps, measuring from end to end (1MD2), which explicitly connects to the standards, but they do so in a way that is realistic! This lesson also lends itself to attend to precision (MP6)-students must be incredibly careful as they measure. This means they go back and check their measurements to make sure they accurately measured from end to end and they didn't leave any gaps. 


We have been measuring fish all week. Today we are going to switch to measuring some other objects. When people design classrooms, they have to measure different objects within the classroom to make sure everything will fit. We are going to be classroom interior designers today and measure different objects in our room. 


We measure all the time in real life. When your mom sees if you have a fever, she is measuring how hot or cold you are. When you check the clock, you are measuring how many minutes something takes. Fishermen have to measure fish to determine if they are a keeper or not. When we measure how long something is, we are measuring length

Objective :

Your thinking job today is: How can we measure different objects in our classroom?

Opening Discussion

15 minutes

Present problem: We are designing a classroom and we need to put a carpet in it. How long is our carpet?

The students will sit around the rug so we can measure it. While we are measuring, we will stop at a few points to discuss some of the guiding questions below. 

Guiding Questions during measurement experience:

  • How many cubes long do you think the rug is?
  • Where do I need to start measuring? Where will I stop?
  • How will I line up my cubes to measure the carpet?
  • Are we following the guidelines we set out for yesterday? Tell your partner how we are supposed to measure.
  • How many cubes has it taken so far to measure this rug? How many more cubes do you think we will need to finish? Why do you think that?

After we finish measuring the rug, I’ll have students partner talk to discuss how we did it.

Partner talk: How long is our rug? How did we figure it out?

Student Work Time and Share

15 minutes

Now that we have finished measuring the rug, we need to measure other objects that will have to go in our classroom design plan. 

  • Partners will work together to measure their desktop. I’ll model what part of the desk I want them to measure. When they finish, they take out their math journals and record the length of their desk. 

I’ll bring students back to the rug. I’ll have one pair of students model how they measured the top of their desks.

Partner talk: Did they get the same number as you and your partner? If not, why not?

We will quickly make a classroom design plan. On each object, we will label its length. I’ll model drawing them different sizes to reflect how they compare to each other.

Representation is a big part of the Common Core (CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4 Model with mathematics). We want students to be able to represent lengths relationally to prep them for more difficult mathematical modeling later.  

Guiding Questions:

  • How long was your desktop?
  • How long was the rug?
  • Which one is longer? In my representation, I’ll draw the rug longer than the desk.
  • If time: Let’s draw 5 desks in. If all the desks are the same size, I can just label each one with the same length. (This will prep the Group C students for their measurement challenge)

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Group A: Intervention

Students measure classroom objects with a partner to “check” how they measured it.

Sentence stem to promote collaboration: You made a mistake. You need to __________ instead. Try it again.

Group B: Right on track!

Students measure classroom objects and check off each object. Then students draw the objects with their measurements on their classroom design plans.

Group C: Extension

Students measure each object and write down the measurements. They have a shorter list of objects to measure. Students then determine: How long would 3 desks be if I put them together?

See video of students at work (Measuring the Room) and listen in to 2 students using number sense to predict the length of a ribbon. This is a great example of a way to link measurement to the NBT standards.


5 minutes

Partner talk: Share your classroom design. How long was each object?

Draw a classroom design plan together as a class. I'll draw it on chart paper. This is a great opportunity for students to think about representing what they did relationally as a class. For example, the desk needs to be shorter than the carpet in our drawings because it was in our measurements. 

To reinforce great representing habits, students label each item with its correct length.