When I teach measurement I always wonder how kids make it so dang difficult!
“Mrs. Braun, I measured my desk and it’s 2 inches long!” …..wait, WHAT!?!
Every year I have taught, I encounter a kid who finds a different way to measure incorrectly. After a while it starts to get humorous! I’ve found that kids need lots of opportunities to practice measuring and receiving feedback on their technique. For my own sanity I’ve found some ways to help kids organize what they need to know about measurement and make the repeated practice fun.
One measurement book kids really enjoy is Twelve Snails to One Lizard by Susan Hightower. In this story Milo the beaver needs to use measurement to fix his leaky dam. He lines up squirmy snails, lizards, and snakes before discovering a better way to measure. I like how this book helps kids relate units of measurement to animals that they can remember. Otherwise it’s so easy for the kids to forget which unit is longer or shorter. When asking kids to estimate how many yards long the playground is I could say, “You know, yards, like a snake.” I created an anchor chart so we could remember these units and some of the advanced students could start thinking about how to convert back and forth between units.