Beacon Lesson Plan Library

How Will You Measure Up?

Debi Vermette


Students use the appropriate units of measure when given a list of items to estimate and measure. Students work in cooperative groups to locate, estimate, and measure given items using the correct unit of measurement.


The student knows an appropriate unit of measure to determine the dimension(s) of a given object (for example, standard - student chooses centimeters instead of meters to measure a pencil; nonstandard - student chooses a paper clip instead of his or her hand to measure the pencil).


-How Will You Measure Up? recording sheet for estimates and measurement (See Associated File)
-Centimeter rulers (one per student)
-Meter stick
-Colored pencils
-Overhead and several objects that could be measured
-Copy of Story Telling rubric for extension activity (See Associated File)
-Bubble gum meter stick (available at Walmart)


1. Gather materials for the activity.
2. Make copies of the How Will You Measure Up? sheet (See Associated File) for students to record estimates and measurements of the given list of items.
3. Make student and teacher copies of the Story Telling rubric (See Associated File) if the extension activity is to be completed.


1. Ask the students if they have ever met the Meter Family.

2. Tell them a short story about why knowing and using the meter family is important.

3. Encourage students to share about why they think knowing how to measure is important in the real world.

4. Discuss millimeters, making comparisons with centimeters, meters and kilometers. Also discuss abbreviation for millimeter (mm) and write the word millimeter and abbreviation on the overhead.

5. Discuss centimeters, making comparisons with millimeters, meters, and kilometers. Also discuss abbreviation for centimeter (cm) and write the word centimeter and abbreviation on the overhead.

6. Discuss meters, making comparisons with millimeters, centimeters, and kilometers. Also discuss abbreviation for meter (m) and write the word meter and abbreviation on the overhead.

7. Discuss kilometers, making comparisons with millimeters, centimeters, and meters. Also discuss abbreviation for kilometer (km) and write the word kilometer and abbreviation on the overhead.

8. Model estimating and measuring several small items using a centimeter ruler on the overhead. Make sure the students understand how to align the left end of the ruler with the beginning of the item being measured on the left. Call on several students to also model this behavior.

9. Place students into groups of your choice.

10. Distribute activity material (How Will You Measure Up? sheet and rulers).

11. Ask students to give the correct unit of measure of specific items by randomly calling on students in the various groups to make sure that there is at least one student in each group that has an understanding of what is being asked.

12. Encourage students to estimate (guess) the total length of various items by randomly calling on various students throughout the groups.

13. Instruct the students to raise their hands after they have completed the first item to make sure that everyone is on the right track.

14. Have students work cooperatively within their groups to complete the entire worksheet after getting a green light on #1.

15. Students will see how their group “measured up” compared to the other groups. At the end all students should have ended up with a hidden clue if they measured correctly.

16. The clue reads, “Fold your paper to measure 6 cm and give to your teacher.” After all of the groups have turned in their worksheets, the teacher will reveal how each group “measured up.”

17. The groups who revealed the clue and followed the directions will receive a bubble gum meter stick. All group members must divide the meter into equal parts depending on the number of students within their groups.

18. Encourage students to share their data with other groups.

19. Allow for discussion and feedback.


Use completed worksheet to formatively assess the student’s ability to:
-Use real-world items to solve problems in estimation.
-Use concrete objects to investigate measurement of length.
-Use appropriate units of measure.


1. Generate student responses as to what they learned, what they liked best about the lesson, what they liked least, and what they’d like to do differently if allowed to do this activity again.
2. Students create a story to teach someone else about the different units of measure on a separate sheet of paper. (Before students begin writing, share the Story Telling rubric in the associated file.)
3. Invite several students to orally share their stories with the class.
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