Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Measure Me!

Jennifer Mann


This lesson allows to students to use a nonstandard concrete method to estimate and record measurements of their body.


The student knows measurement concepts and can use oral and written language to communicate them..

The student uses a wide variety of concrete objects to investigate measurement of length, weight, capacity, area, perimeter, and volume (for example, cubes, grid paper, string, squares).

The student knows how to determine whether an accurate or estimated measurement is needed for a solution.

The student using real-world settings, objects, graph paper, or charts, solves problems involving estimated measurements including the following: length to nearest inch, centimeter; weight to nearest pound, kilogram; time to nearest half-hour interval; temperature to nearest five-degree interval; and money to the nearest $1 or $10 (combination of coin and currency).


-Construction paper
-Ruler with inches
-Math journal or a sheet of notebook paper
-Basket or tub for supplies
-Clear ruler with inches
-Overhead marker


1. Place tape, scissors, construction paper, yarn, ruler, and pencils in basket.
2. Place one basket at each group (usually one basket for 4 children).
3. Have yarn, tape, scissors, overhead, clear ruler, overhead marker, and paper for the teacher's use.


1. Place students in groups of four to allow for easy access to materials.

2. Have students take out supplies from the basket (1 item for each student).

3. Ask students what they think they will use the supplies for.

4. After some students have given responses, ask them how they could use the supplies to measure parts of their body. Use trial and error to demonstrate their suggestions. Example: The student tells you to take a piece of string and place it on your hand but forgets to tell you to cut it! Follow the suggestion and then ask the child if that is correct. Discuss why or why not that would work, pointing out that the string would need to be cut so that you can measure it later.

5. Once the students have discussed how to measure, ask them how they would record it. Again, follow their directions. The students will usually forget to tell you to tape the string down so be sure to demonstrate what happens if you don't. Ask them where to tape the string (onto the top of the paper) and why the string needs to be taped (so the string remains in place while students measure it). Ask them if they should record their measurements on the paper and why this is a good idea (so they can remember their measurements for future use).

6. Have students define estimation and provide examples. Ask how estimation can be helpful (when an exact measurement is not necessary but a general idea of a particular measurement is). Ask students when an exact measurement is necessary (when you buy shoes and clothes, when you are building a house, etc).

7. Students take out their rulers. Show clear ruler on the overhead. Review what an inch is. Students show where the inch marking is. Ask how many inches there are in a foot pointing out that the foot is equal to the size of the ruler.

8. Have students measure their paper to determine if they know how to align the end of the ruler with the end of the paper. Ask how many inches their paper is. If any students have an incorrect response, demonstrate how to measure the paper using the overhead and the clear ruler. Some rulers do not begin measuring from the end; in this case, make sure students know to start at the zero marking.

9. Ask students where the half-inch marking would be. Students show where the half-inch marking is. Have students find 3 1/2 inches. Ask how many half inches there are in a foot.

10. Explain to students that they will be working with a partner to measure their hands, feet, arms, and legs. Tell them that they will be learning to make good estimates and exact measurements. First, they have to estimate how many inches each part will be. They record the estimation on their construction paper. They measure a piece of string according to their estimation and tape it to their paper. The paper should be vertical so that the strings don't hang as much. . Then their partner will use string to measure them. The partner will cut the string and the student will tape the string next to their estimation. The student measures the second string and writes the correct measurement next to the string. Then they write a complete sentence comparing the estimation to the actual measurement (ex. I estimated that my arm was 20 inches but it is 24 inches).

11. Choose a volunteer to demonstrate how they will measure each other. Make sure to explain that arms and legs should be measured from the side.

12. The volunteer stands still while you choose a body part to measure. Have the volunteer make an estimation. Measure the string according to the student's estimation and tape to the board. Record the estimation on the board. Ask children to tell you where you should start measuring (ex. the top of the leg (not the middle) to the floor, from the wrist to the end of the hand, from the heel to the toe, from the shoulder to the end of the longest finger). Measure the child, cut the string, tape it to the board, and measure the string. Record the measurement on the board. Compare the results to the estimation. Was the estimation correct? How close/far was the estimation to the actual measurement? Write a sentence comparing the estimation to the actual measurement.

13. With a partner, children measure each other's hands, arms, legs, and feet. Remind them to compare the estimations and actual measurements as well as compare each other's measurements.

14. Circulate the classroom, making notes on how students are measuring. Use the assessment below to make observations.

15. When the students are finished, discuss the results. Were the estimates very different from the actual measurements? Who had the longest/shortest arms, legs, feet, hands?

16. Students then respond in their math journals or on a separate sheet of paper to the question: Why would you need to know the lengths of your feet, hands, arms, and legs?

17. Ask students to share their responses with the class.


Use teacher observation to determine the following:
-Were the students able to:
-estimate within 5" the lengths of their arms, legs, feet, and hands?
-accurately measure within 1/2" and compare their estimation to the actual measurement?
-compare the estimate to the actual measurement? Are they close/far apart?
-compare their measurements to their partner's measurements?
-decide whose arm, leg, foot, and hand was the longest/shortest?
-provide a reasonable response to the question: -When would we need to know the exact measurements of different body parts-? Responses should include examples such as needing to know the length of your foot so that your shoe fits correctly, knowing the length of your leg so that your pants aren't too short or too long, etc.


A graph of each body part could be constructed. Discuss the results of each graph and then compare.
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