Measurement: Measuring Hands and Feet
||2 to 5|
||30 to 45 minutes |
This lesson was excerpted from the Afterschool Training Toolkit
under the promising practice: Math Centers
This sample lesson is one example of how you can implement Math Centers. In this activity, students use a variety of measurement skills, tools, and strategies to find the area of their handprints and footprints.
- Understand length, width, height, and area, and how they connect
- Use specific strategies to estimate measurements
- Select and use appropriate standard (for example, inches) and nonstandard (for instance, arbitrary lengths of string) units and tools of measurement
- Test predictions and communicate mathematical reasoning
- Graph paper and unlined paper
- Pencils or colored pencils
- Ruler and protractors
- Geoboards (optional)
- Directions for each center
What to Do:
- Use the materials provided to trace your hand and foot separately.
- Make a prediction of whether your hand or your foot takes up more space.
- Find out if your prediction is correct.
- Use the sample hands and feet measurement image to review length, width, and area with students
- Ask students to trace one hand and one foot on graph paper, then predict which is bigger. Students may count the squares on the graph paper as a strategy for making predictions.
- Next, ask students to measure the length and width of their handprints and footprints.
- When students have measured length and width, ask them to calculate the area of each one to test their predictions.
- Circulate and pose questions as students are working. Encourage students to work together to problem solve.
- Finally, ask students to report in on which was bigger, how they came to their answers, if their predictions were correct, and what they learned.
Some students will understand length, width, and area quicker than others and may not need guidance on the use of a ruler or protractor. Be sure that students maintain the proper units of measurement as they proceed (centimeters, inches) and that all measurements for one object are taken using the same units. Students who are measuring will also need to use the formula for calculating area, or the space an object takes up (Area = Length x Width). Allow them to either come up with the formula on their own or have a conversation around what they might do with their measurements before providing it for them.
Students who are just learning these concepts may use nonstandard units of measurement, like counting the squares on the graph paper or simply guessing by comparing the size of their hands and feet. These students will need to estimate some squares in portions (halves, quarters) and will also need to keep track in some way of what has been counted. Coloring or marking counted spaces in some way will be helpful. However students decide to tackle the problem, allow them to explore on their own before stepping in to offer a suggestion. Using Guiding Questions
As students work together, the role of the instructor is to facilitate learning by asking questions that encourage students to use what they know about math to solve the problem as opposed to simply giving them the answers. Use the sample guiding questions below or develop your own.
- "I notice that you are counting spaces, represented by boxes on your graph paper, inside your handprints and footprints. Why might this be useful in finding out which takes up more space?"
- "What method do you plan on using to solve the problem? What is your strategy?"
- "Can you re-state what this question is asking you to do in your own words?"
- "How are you keeping track of your calculations"?
- Did you answer the question?
- "What did you learn from the others at the center that helped you solve the problem?"
Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):
- Student participation and engagement
- Students working together and using tools to problem solve
- Understanding of nonstandard units of measurement (guessing size in terms of a specific student's handprint or footprint, for instance) as well as standard units of measurement (measuring inches and centimeters, calculating the area)
- Answers that reflect an understanding of length, width, and area
- Ability to make and test predictions
- Students working together to problem solve
Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.