Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Measurement Mania

I have to be a complete teacher nerd and admit that I am having  the most fun with my fourth graders as they are exploring metric measurement!  Hands-on is the way to go, and has truly helped my sweet kiddos understand the conceptual aspects of measurement as well as the importance of metrics in the real world.  I am so glad that Take a look...

I began the unit with metric length and challenged my students to find the relationships between centimeters, decimeters, and meters.  We used centimeter cubes, a meter stick, and a decimeter template.  I was inspired by an activity on K-5 Teaching resources., and if you haven't seen this site, check it out for some amazing, free activities, templates, and station materials!  My students still refer to this activity, especially when they are trying to convert meters to centimeters.  Sometimes they want to multiply by 1,000, but as soon as they think, centimeter cubes, the 100 benchmark pops into their little brains :)

After we explored length and metric length conversions, mys students worked in pairs to complete a metric length sort. Partners ordered centimeters, meters, and kilometers in order from least to greatest, and were challenged to do some mental converting.  I think they thought Mrs. Brown was giving them an easy assignment, but it turned out to be more rigorous than expected!  They had a blast with this and were determined to solve the puzzle.

Metric mass and weight were next to cross out on our master metric list, and we had an absolute blast differentiating between mass and weight.  This was a great opportunity to let students experience both the balance scale and spring scale, and they loved utilizing each tool.  Students did a grams scavenger hunt and created their own 100 gram weights, which we combined to make a kilogram.  Having a kilogram benchmark really helped students get a feel of kilograms and items that are appropriate to weigh in kilograms.  We spent two days on mass/weight exploration and the students did a fabulous job making etimatesand recording actual measures.

Next up, capacity! My fourth graders were amazed at how tiny a milliliter actually is compared to a liter.  We had a fabulous discussion about the difference between milli and kilo.  I had to explain that milli is a prefix that means 1000th, like a fraction.  A milliliter is 1/1000 of a liter. Kilo means 1,000 and is 1,000 wholes.  This helped bridge measurement and fractions, which got my little math self pretty excited! One of my students favorite activities was trying to estimate the liquid volume of these containers.  In groups they ordered the containers from least to greatest, based on how much water they thought each would hold.  Then they were actually able to experiment with the containers, water, and graduated cylinders.  SO much fun, and hardly any spills!

Even though our exploration and hands-on discoveries have been super fun, we are all super exhausted!  Sooo, this week we have been doing some task card reviews, metric sorts, around the room conversions, and, their all time favorite, headbandz!

Some of these measurement activities can be found here at my TPT store.  Enjoy!  Be on the lookout this week for an amazing formative assessment idea for word problems AND some "feedback fun"


  1. Oh my goodness!!! SO FUN! Love hands on math learning!
    Kids Math Teacher

  2. I loved learning how to measure stuff in school! It seems so silly, but I thought it was so interesting, especially when it came to measuring more advanced stuff like force and pressure. It's cool attaching numbers and figures to things you see in the real world, and being able to use those numbers to accurately predict things like how far a car will roll when you push it with a certain amount of force.

    I'm rambling but what I'm basically saying is physics is awesome and everyone should have at least one physics class in their life.

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