Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Units 'R Us

Lynda Penry


Students make a foot-long & a yard measuring tool from one-inch grid paper and determine the fractional parts of a foot and yard. Students write a story problem using two linear units to demonstrate conversion of units.


The student solves real-world problems involving length, weight, perimeter, area, capacity, volume, time, temperature, and angles.


-One-inch grid paper (usually comes on a 7”x10” grid)
-Scissors (pair for each student)
-Glue or tape for each student
-Drawing paper
-Crayons for each student
-Adding machine tape


1. Prepare roll of adding machine tape, 7’1” long
2. Have materials available on students’ desks (see materials list)


This lesson only deals with part of the benchmark (measurement).

1. Ask students, “How tall is Shaq O’Neal?” Write responses on the board. Demonstrate Shaq’s height using a length of adding machine tape 7’1” long. Lay the tape on the floor and then ask the students where the length of tape would reach on the wall. Discuss how many inches tall Shaq is.

2. Students should have a prior knowledge of what a unit is and inches, feet, and yards are three customary units of measurement of length.

3. Using the inch-grid paper, instruct students to cut out squares and construct three, 12-inch strips using glue or tape. Have the students color one strip blue, one strip, green, and one strip red.

4. Demonstrate folding the blue strip in half. Ask the students, “How many inches in half of a foot?” Instruct the students to fold the red strip in four equal parts. Ask, “How many inches in ¼ of a foot?” Instruct the student to fold the green strip into three equal parts. Ask “How many inches in 1/3 of a foot?”

5. Have the students measure a length on their desks that measured approximately one and one-half feet. Ask the students to express the length two ways (ex. one and one-half feet or 18 inches). Practice with other lengths.

6.Have the students connect the three-foot long strips to form one yard. Ask students, “How many feet in one yard?” and “How many inches in one yard?” Fold the yard strip in half and ask the students what that length is, using two units (ex. one and one-half feet or 18 inches). Practice with other lengths, using two units to express each length. Teacher observes students’ understanding.

7. Describe a situation when you measure something. For example, “I bought 18 inches of blue ribbon and 12 inches of red ribbon, how many feet did I buy?” (Ans. 2 ½ feet)

8. Have students offer situations where the problem is stated using one unit of measurement and the answer would be in another unit. Provide feedback so students’ understanding is clarified.

9. Assessment: Students write a word problem similar to the examples. They are to illustrate the problem to visually represent their understanding.


This assessment only deals with part of the benchmark (measurement).
Each student writes a word problem about linear measurement, using customary units. The problem is given in one unit and the answer should be given in another unit.

Students should demonstrate use of two different units of measurement for the same length. They should express their thinking in both drawings and words.
After reviewing the students' responses, comments are written and as the review section of the next day's lesson we go over the assessments.


The assessment could be adapted easily for students of other intelligences. For example, the musical/rhythmic child could write a song using the different units of measurement; or the bodily/kinesthetic student could act out their problem.

Web Links

Web supplement for Units R-Us
Shaquille O'Neal

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