Today marks the beginning of our metric unit and I want to be sure students understand a few things about measuring. I thought that an activity of non standard measurement would get their minds going about the meaning of linear measurement. I showed this little video clip from PBS KIDS.Org to 2:28. Then, I stopped the video to get the activity rolling.I didn't show the whole video because I want to facilitate the rest of the activity rather than watching them.
I ask: Why might someone want to measure the length of our classroom? Could we use non standard measurement to do so?
Students talked about using themselves to measure the length of the room or using various objects like the tissue box or their art box.
I reviewed the rules of linear measurement. Students chose partners with whom they felt they could work well. I went over two things I wanted them to remember while measuring.
1. Determine where you want to start.
2. Make sure your tool is lined up correctly and straight across.
I told my students that they would measure the hallway, since it was open and free from obstacles. This activity supports Math Practice 5 that demands that students not only pick the right tools but use them properly to solve problems. I asked them to choose a non standard measurement tool and measure the hallway.
One partner was responsible for recording and checking that their partner was lining up the tool with no spaces as the PBS movie teacher pointed out.Measuring.mov
It was fun to see what they picked. I thought they would just use their bodies, but many chose to use objects. Only three partners used themselves to measure. We wrapped up in the classroom. I asked them how it felt to use non standard units because many wanted to use inches. Even in the process, they were "guessing" how many inches the object was and then they were adding them together.Using tiles!
Revised Module D Metric Measurement Unit Assessment: Use this one to pretest!
After we finished our discussion about what we learned and noticed, I told students that metric and nonstandard units of measurement "feel" the same. It's new, maybe a bit confusing at first, but once they got the hang of understanding the units, it would be a breeze.
This test was designed to measure their conceptual understanding as well as their calculations and conversions. There are areas to draw and write explanations because that is what CCSS is about. Students need to prove their learning and their conceptual understanding. However, this test was based on old standards prior to me revising it. It is important for you to know that you should not use it but only to compare it to aligned revised test. As we transition, we will run into these pitfalls and I have taken time to fix the errors so that standards are met precisely.