Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Clips, Cards, Rocks and Rulers
Lara Weeks Bay District Schools
Description
Students work in pairs to use standard and nonstandard tools to measure classroom objects. Partners compare data and respond to a journal prompt that provides application to realworld situations.
Objectives
The student knows that a uniform unit is needed to measure in realworld situations (for example, length, weight, time, capacity).
Materials
 [How Big is a Foot], Rolf Myller, EconoClad Books; ISBN: 0833568531; (October 1999)
 Data Chart, one copy per student (see associated file)
 Standard ruler, one per student
 Small objects for nonstandard measurement, one for each child with a few extra for choice (example; paper clips, playing cards, used pencils, chalk, rocks, counters, sticky notes, straws, crayons, erasers)
 Math Journals
Preparations
1. Acquire a copy of the book, [How Big is a Foot] by Rolf Myller,
2. Gather materials for standard and nonstandard measurement activity. rulers, paper clips, playing cards, used pencils, chalk, rocks, counters, sticky notes, straws, crayons, erasers
3. Make copies of the data chart for each student.
Procedures
1. Ask the students, “ How big is a foot? Does it matter that everyone’s foot is not the same size?” Allow time for discussion. Then ask the students to listen to a story that tells about a time when the size of feet caused big problems. Read the book, [How Big is a Foot?] By Rolf Myller as an introduction to standard and nonstandard units of measurement.
2. Discuss problems from the book that were caused by nonstandard measurement tools. Have students name several items that could be used in the classroom as nonstandard measurement tools. Identify a ruler as a standard measurement tool.
3. Explain to the students that they will be measuring objects in the classroom using standard and nonstandard tools. Demonstrate to remind students that correct measurements are made when the left edge of the tool is lined up on the left side of the object being measured.
4. Distribute activity materials. (rulers, nonstandard tools, chart for recording measurement from associated file)
5. Pairs of students will choose 5 objects in the classroom to measure. Each student will measure the objects using a standard tool (rulers). Next, the students will measure the same 5 objects using a variety of nonstandard tools (paperclips, pencils, erasers). Record the measurements on charts.
6. Encourage the partners to compare the data on the charts. Ask guiding questions to help students clarify the information. For example; Did you both gather the same data when measuring like objects with rulers? Did you both gather the same data when using nonstandard measurment tools? How was your data different? How was your data alike? Can you think of a time when you would need to have the exact same measurement as your partner?
7. Pass out math journals. Write prompt on the board and read it to the class. (Prompt: You have worked with a partner to measure items in our classroom using standard and nonstandard tools. Tell your reader how standard units of measurement are needed in realworld situations.) Students respond in the journals.
8. As students complete journal assignments, circulate and offer formative feedback.
Assessments
Note: This lesson instructs and assesses use of standard and nonstandard measurement of length only. Use completed charts to formatively assess student’s ability to use standard and nonstandard tools to measure objects. Conference with students and formatively assess the journal response.
