Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Parts Are Parts: The English Measurement System

Dale Peterson

Description

All scientific studies require accurate data collection. Knowledge of the English measurement system's origins helps students understand the importance of standardization.

Objectives

The student knows the precision of different measuring instruments.

Materials

-Pictures, drawings or sketches of various body parts, prepared for overhead projecton
-Rulers
-Overhead projector
-Dry erase markers
-Dry erase board

Preparations

1. Prepare sketches for overhead projection
2. Chart paper may be helpful for recording during the brainstorming exercise.
3. Have rulers available for each student.

Procedures

1. Attention step: Ask the students if they know why a ruler (measuring device) is called a ruler. [Brainstorming exercise … write down their responses; provide an answer before this lesson is completed.]

2. Emphasize that measurement and units of measure are an everyday fact of life. Ask the students to name common examples of measurement. Examples may include time, temperature, clothing sizes, recipes, distance to school, speed.

3. Show a sketch or picture of someone’s back, whose arms are outstretched. Ask if anyone knows the distance from finger tip to finger tip. All good sailors know that this distance is a fathom. Invite the students to measure and record similar distances with their friends. Write a sampling of measurements on the board, under the heading of “fathom”.

4. Ask what the distance is called from the outstretched finger tip to the middle of the body. This distance is a yard. Invite the students to measure and record similar distances with their friends. Write a sampling of measurements
on the board, under the heading of “yard”.

5. Ask what half a yard is called while demonstrating half the distance between the outstretched finger tip to the elbow. Invite the students to measure and record similar distances with their friends. Write a sampling of measurements on the board, under the heading of “cubit”.

6. Place a sketch of an outstretched hand on the overhead. The distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger is known as a span. This distance was useful when planting seeds in the garden or field. Invite the students to measure and record similar distances with their friends. Write a sampling of measurements on the board, under the heading of “span”.

7. The width of four fingers is a unit known as the hand. What animal is still measured using the hand? (horse) Invite the students to measure and record similar distances with their friends. Write a sampling of measurements on the board, under the heading of “hand”.

8. Place a sketch of a thumb on the overhead. The distance from the tip of the thumb to the first knuckle is an inch. Invite the students to measure and record similar distances with their friends. Write a sampling of measurements on the board, under the heading of “inch”.

9. Place a sketch of an index finger on the overhead. The width of one finger was known as a digit, ¾ of a “thumb” inch in length. Invite the students to verify this measurement.

10. The pace was equal to two regular steps, measured from the heel of one foot to the toe of the same foot , the next time it reached the ground. Invite a few students to measure the front or side of the classroom in paces. Record the results under the heading of “paces”.

11. Review the data that has been collected. Ask why we don’t use body parts as units of measure now? (Because different people are different sizes.)

12. As civilization became more advanced, standards, or specific units of measure, became necessary. Centuries ago, an English king (or ruler) declared his foot size to be the standard foot unit. The official foot was subdivided into inches … ask how many inches fit into the first official foot?
There were also three standard feet in a yard.

Assessments

Formative assessments of measurement will occur during classroom measurement exercises. Point out the differences between measurements without standards and measurements with standards. (the 12 inch ruler, for example)
Summative assessment will occur during the chapter or unit test when formative assessment indicates students are ready for it. It should include matching, multiple choice, “compare and contrast” questions.

Parts Are Parts Quiz
A sample quiz using the vocabulary from the lesson is included in the associated file. If you intend on using this, students will need to take notes during the lesson so they can study for the 'measurement of body parts' quiz.

Extensions

ESOL and SLD students may benefit from flash cards which contain the body part on one side, along with the descriptive distance, and the correct term on the other side. Gifted students should include research of the body parts, measurements, and times, during history when these measurements have been used. Gifted students may also develop a skit and then present the skit; along with flash cards, computer graphics slides, etc; to ESOL and SLD or younger students.

Attached Files

A Parts Are Parts quiz. Matching terms and definitions are provided.     File Extension: pdf

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