While the topic often feels tedious to us adults, measurement is an important foundation for a young student’s education. Understanding measurement is essential to understand math, science, and technology. With the increasing relevance of STEM and the importance of computer literacy, a solid foundation in measurements is more important now than ever. Making a few simple adjustments to make your lessons on measurements fun and memorable can go a long way in strengthening students’ understanding of measurements. Below are five unique ways. to teach students about measurements.
By the Foot
For this activity, you can have children pair off into groups and measure the same object by pacing it off with their feet. They can measure a bookcase, tiles, carpet or anything else, as long as they are all measuring the same thing. After they have finished the task, have them write down approximately how many paces it took for each student. They’ll notice that the number is inconsistent. Next, have them all measure the same object using a measuring tape and write down those numbers. Those should all be the same. This is a great way to teach the importance of standardized measurements. It’s also an opportunity to bring some history or current events into your math lessons. You could talk about Napoleon and the metric system or how the National Institute for Standards and Technology plans to complete the standardization of the foot in 2022.
Make it High Tech
Most of our measuring tools are simple. All you need to make a ruler is wood, a writing utensil, and another ruler, but there are lots of high-tech measuring tools to pique the interest of your gadget-friendly students. Stores like Metrology Parts offer high-tech, precision tools that demonstrate the capacities of measurement beyond measuring tapes and scales. They can also be useful for more advanced students learning about the importance of measurement in engineering.
Liquid can be super fascinating for kids big and small. Young kids will usually assume that taller containers hold more liquid even when two containers hold the same volume. You can use water and different containers for a fun demonstration on this. For older kids, you can use the same demonstration, but add some math to it, having them calculate the volume of each container before showing how it works with water.
Baking is a fun way to teach kids practical measuring skills. This will teach them to use common measuring tools and math’s application in the real world. To make it a bit more difficult, you could ask kids to split or double a recipe before helping them make it. For the extra-ambitious student, you could even have them convert the recipe from metric to imperial measurements.
Measure your Shadow
Taking kids outside at the beginning or the end of the day to measure their shadows is an interactive way to teach them about angles. Have them measure their height, measure the length of their shadow and then use trigonometry to calculate the angle of the sun at that time of day. This could even become integrated with a science class that teaches how the earth rotates or students how sundials work.