For some reason, measurement and geometry always seemed to be the weakest strands for the elementary students in the schools I’ve taught in. Maybe it’s because they aren’t traditional arithmetic, or maybe it’s because they tend to be left for the end of the school year. Whatever the reason, they tend to get left behind. Here are some ways to incorporate more measurement throughout your school day:

-ask what time it
is. Telling time is an important
measurement skill. Depending on the age
of your students, you can ask them what time it is, how much time has passed
since…, what day/ month/ season it is, etc. Make sure they have access to analog clocks
and calendars. Bonus points for using
timelines to figure out how many days/ minutes/ hours/ seconds have elapsed!

-have the students
put things in order by measurement unit.
This can mean lining up by height or by foot length/ hair length,
putting potted plants in order by planter capacity, putting backpacks in order
by weight, etc. (It’s also a fun way to
line up when it’s time to go somewhere!)
Even if the students aren’t yet ready to use actual measurement units,
they can still put thing in order based on their measureable properties.

-graph stuff. Having a party? Make a pictograph of what food everyone
wants. Just took a spelling test? Make a line plot of the scores
(anonymously!!). Graph the weather/
temperature, what color sneakers everyone has, lunch requests, anything. Bonus points if you’re graphing something you
first have to measure!

(You can get free graphing resources here & more comprehensive materials here.)

(You can get free graphing resources here & more comprehensive materials here.)

-fill your
classroom with containers labeled with their capacity. Label every student’s water bottle. The pencil cup. The bucket where you keep the lunch boxes. Every container can be labled with its
capacity in both metric and customary units.
Students need to interact with
these objects in order to have a reference point when using them. Bonus points if you can get them to start
looking for the capacity of every container they find… the lunch room and art
room are especially good for this!

-practice
counting, adding, and subtracting money when the opportunity arises. Kids can count coins for fundraisers, their
lunch money, their change, field trip costs, etc. They can add up the costs of books in the
library (the prices are often on the back), how much was spent on a party,
orthe cost of their school supplies.
Bonus points if you can create a reward system that uses pretend coins
and money!

Measurement
concepts and skills are a little different from other math strands. Kids need direct instruction on how to
measure, but also need to be engaged with measurement units and concepts in
order to internalize them. The more
opportunities students have to interact with and manipulate these units and
skills, the deeper their understanding will be.
Then, when it comes time to apply these concepts in estimating or
problem solving, either in math or in real life, they will have strong,
well-developed concepts on which to rely.