Reflection: Lesson Planning Measurement: Distance - Section 2: Explore


Oftentimes, effective science instruction necessitates that we, the science teacher, become the literacy or math teacher in order to progress through our science standards. Measurement is one of these areas of mathematical literacy that students may come through the door with advanced or little skill or understanding. For years, I spent crazy amounts of time trying, unsuccessfully, to teach students how to use rulers, thermometers and triple beam balances. After a few years of valiant effort, I realized that I might be making assumptions about what my students knew. To analyze why students could not read a ruler or thermometer or triple beam balance, I had to go to the math standards. From my review of the standards and discussions with math teachers, I realized that certain fundamental concepts were not in the math curriculum until after I needed students to know them! These concepts are assumed because they seem easy to people who know them, but if students have not learned it, measurement instruction will not be successful. Some of the concepts that science teachers should be mindful of when teaching measurement include:

1) Number lines: many students have not had instruction around the idea of positive versus negative numbers.

2) Scale: the lines on measurement tools are not random. Each line has meaning and corresponds to a unit. Not all lines are labeled, so students need to know what they mean.

3) Decimals and fractions: measurement tools require an understanding of "whole" and "parts".

In order to save time and aggravation later, it makes sense to spend some upfront time on direct instruction. By "taking a tour" of the measurement tool with explicit instruction about what the lines and symbols mean and by modeling correct use, students have a better chance at understanding what they are measuring rather than just waving a ruler around.

  Teaching Mathematical Literacy in Science
  Lesson Planning: Teaching Mathematical Literacy in Science
Loading resource...

Measurement: Distance

Unit 4: Measuring Matter
Lesson 1 of 7

Objective: SWBAT determine the distance between points using metric units and a meter stick or metric ruler.

Big Idea: Students practice precise and accurate measurement of distance.

  Print Lesson
22 teachers like this lesson
Science, distance (Motion), metric system (Science Skills), ruler, meter sticks, Fluency (Math), distance, mass, matter, Forces
  80 minutes
Similar Lessons
Measurement: The skill of how long, how big, how small, how much?
2nd Grade Science » Inquiry in Science
Big Idea: Measurement is a tool that can makes life easier.
East Wenatchee, WA
Environment: Suburban
Veronique Paquette
That's Not a Plant, It's a Weed! Discovering Functions of External Plant Parts; What Makes a Plant a Plant?
4th Grade Science » Plants: Structures and Processes
Big Idea: Using data and prior knowledge, students use Educreations to explain their observations, measurements and understanding of various plant's external parts and how they help the plant survive in its environment.
Genoa City, WI
Environment: Rural
Mary Ellen Kanthack
Counting Bugs
2nd Grade Math » Adding and Subtracting the Basics
Big Idea: Students need to experience real life math situations. They also need to become comfortable sharing their understandings with others.
York, ME
Environment: Suburban
Beth McKenna
Something went wrong. See details for more info
Nothing to upload