This week, I have been posting about my new physics unit for kindergarten through second grade. Before we jumped into the final investigation, we needed to learn a new skill, measuring length!
I prepared a simple presentation that demonstrates how to measure correctly. You can access it along with the other free materials that support this unit by accessing my Teachers Pay Teacher page. I kept my explanation to a simple, three-step process. Line up the zero with one edge of the object, read the number on the other edge of the object, add the appropriate units.
This is a great time for tactile practice. My son entertained himself for over twenty minutes measuring objects around the house. He was still working on nomenclature, so that was the skill we reinforced. Older students could work on fractions or decimals as they find left over halves or 0.5's. We made verbal notations of the measurements, but students who are comfortable writing could easily make a list of objects and their lengths.
The opportunity to work with a real tool is the key to student engagement in this lesson. If I was a working with a classroom, I would keep my eyes peeled at yard sales for interesting measuring implements. For a faster solution, you might consider some little tape measures like these.
As a high school physics teacher, one of my favorite amusements was watching students who had believed themselves to be less intelligent than their peers discover that they were good at one of the most difficult sciences. This activity is a similar opportunity for younger students who may struggle with paper and pencil style work. Hopefully, the motivation spills over to other subjects.