U.S. Customary System Measurement Task

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The students will be able to convert measurements of length, weight, and capacity within the U.S. Customary System to solve real world problems.

Big Idea

I guess this is practical!


15 minutes

In today’s lesson students review the U.S. Customary system.  First, they perform a classroom sort of vocabulary associated with the units of measurement.  Then, they work in groups to solve real world story problems that have multiple steps.  The students close this lesson by presenting their solution to the story problems. 

To prepare for this lesson I make copies of the classroom sort words and cut them out.  I ensure I have enough words cut so that each student gets a word.  I pass out the words as a folded piece of paper and instruct the students not to open it until told to do so.  I divide the room into four sections and label each one length, weight, capacity, and temperature. 

Alright, on the count of three you have to open your paper and then put yourself into the appropriate group.  Once you have everyone in your group you need to present what you have and ask a question to your group.  For example if you have feet, you could say 1 foot equals how many inches?  Or you could ask, what is a unit bigger than the foot?  Or, what is bigger, one foot or one mile? 

Once students play one round of the sort I collect the papers and distribute them again.  This time the students have to create a statement that helps group members determine which unit they have.  For example if a student has an ounce, they could say there are 16 of me in one pound.  Or, I am the smallest unit of weight in the U.S. Customary system.


30 minutes

After the second round of the sort I bring students back to the whole group and explain the next portion of today’s lesson.

Today we are going to be working with our groups to solve some real world problems just like you have been in your exit slips from the last few days.  But, these story problems are a bit more complicated.  You may need to preform several steps and operations in order to complete the problem.  You need to show your work on a separate sheet of paper and then present your findings at the end.    

There are five word problems so I place my students in five groups and pass out the papers.  I allow students about 15 - 20 minutes to solve the problem and prepare their presentation.  I circulate the room and listen to conversation without aiding students in solving the problem.  I want them to struggle a bit because these problems do require some deep thought.  My role as a facilitator in this activity is to make sure all members of the group are participating in conversation. 

The word problems used in today’s activity are derived from Kahn Academy.  There is a video of solutions for each one of the problems. 


15 minutes

Once I see the majority of groups preparing their visual for the presentation I give them a five minute warning of time until remaining.  I have students place their work on the document camera and stand at the board to present their thinking.  At the end of each presentation I allow the other students to ask questions about the solution or work showed.  I also ask students presenting some further questions to check for understanding.