Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Measuring Mania

Gina Dolan
Citrus County Schools


Watch your students turn into measuring maniacs with this activity. With real world objects, students practice measuring accurately to the nearest inch and centimeter.


The student measures length, weight, and capacity of objects using standard and nonstandard units.


-Measuring tapes (one for every two students)
-Ziploc bags (one for every two students) including the following: 1 piece of notebook paper, index card, piece of yarn (same length for all bags), new pencil, marker, paper clip, block (I used a base ten manipulative), envelope
-Measurement worksheet (see attached file)


1. Gather tape measures (one for every two students).
2. Gather objects to be measured into Ziploc bags (one for every two students). See materials list.
3. Copy Measurement worksheet (one for every student) in attached file.
4. Choose 2 or 3 objects to use to demonstrate the proper way to measure (for #1-3 in procedures).


NOTE: This lesson has students practice the measuring of length with standard units (centimeters and inches) only.

1. Hold up an object in front of the class. Tell them that you wonder if they remember how to measure an object with a ruler or tape measure. Let students explain and demonstrate for you the proper procedure for measuring an object accurately.

2. Hold up another object and tell the class to watch you measure this object and check that you are measuring accurately. While measuring make it obvious for your class that you are not placing the zero mark of the ruler or tape measure at the edge of the object you are measuring. Let a student explain your mistake.

3. Discuss with the class why you need to use the zero mark and read the mark where an object you are measuring ends accurately. Demonstrate again the difference in the measurements of an object when measured incorrectly and measured correctly. Ask students what would happen if you went to the carpet store to buy new carpet if you had not measured accurately.

4. Pass out the tape measures (one for every two students).

5. Ask students to measure their math books. Walk around and observe students to be sure they are using the tape measures accurately.

6. Pass out the Measurement worksheet (see attached file). Each student will complete his own Measurement worksheet, but will work with a partner to check each otherís accuracy in measuring.

7. Pass out the plastic bags with objects to be measured.

8. Discuss directions on the worksheet with the class. On the first 8 problems students will be given objects to measure in the plastic bag. On 9 and 10 students will be challenged to find objects in the classroom that measure a given length. (Answers will vary). Last, students are asked to measure around their desks in centimeters and inches (Do not discuss this ahead of time. Allow students to explore the best method to measure their desks accurately.)

9. Give students 20-30 minutes to complete the Measurement worksheet. Circulate around the class to observe students. At this time you may reteach individuals as needed.

10. Discuss with students the lengths of objects in the bag and the reasons items may have measured differently. (For instance, the piece of yarn can measure longer if stretched, or if the teacher did not cut yarn pieces exactly the same length.)

11. Discuss measurement around the desks. List on the board the different measurements that students found. Discuss the different processes that partners may have used to find the measurement around a desk. Talk about difficulties in measuring something with rounded edges.

12. Demonstrate an accurate way of measuring each side from edge to edge and adding the measurements together (You could also bring in knowledge of equal sides of a rectangle).

13. Collect Measurement worksheets to use with your observations to determine the studentsí success in measuring accurately.

14. Use a combination of observations of student success (as in the rubric described in the assessment section) and the Measurement worksheet (80% correct) to determine which students need further practice in a small group.


Note: This activity gives the student experience in measuring length with standard units (centimeters and inches) only.

Evidence: Students will demonstrate their ability to measure everyday objects using both inches and centimeters accurately.

Criteria: The following rubric and the Measurement worksheet can be used to assess the studentís ability to measure with standard units.

*Measures objects exactly.
*Uses ruler or tape measure by placing zero mark at the end of object to be measured.

*Measures objects to the ľ inch or Ĺ centimeter.
*Uses ruler or tape measure accurately with reminder to use zero mark.

See teacher:
*Measures objects inaccurately (beyond acceptable standards).
*Needs help to use ruler or tape measure accurately.


Extend the lesson by teaching perimeter, and giving practice in measuring the perimeter of objects in the classroom.
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