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Teaching Young Kids to Measure: Introduction to Units
Teaching young kids to measure begins with teaching them the concept of units.
In this lesson plan, we are introducing students to the concept of units as measurements. We are not yet using devices made for measuring. Rather, we are going to explain the concept of measuring using devices that are already available. This is a hands on activity students will enjoy because they get to be creative about their schoolwork!
Have students take out an eraser, a pencil and a folder. Ask students to measure the length of their desk with their erasers. Explain to students that they are simply going to lay the eraser at the edge of the desk and either mark the place where their eraser ends or hold the place with their finger. Then they will lay the eraser down at the marked spot and repeat the activity until they come to the end of their desk. Ask students to count how many times their eraser can be laid down across their desk. Explain to students that they have just measured their desk. Answers will probably vary as students will have different size erasers.
Repeat the process with the pencil and the folder. Have students compare the amounts they got with their erasers to the amounts they got with their pencil and folders. Discuss with students why the amounts varied so much. Also, be sure to explain that though each item is different, the amounts are still called units, even though the units vary into eraser units, pencil units and folder units. Explain that everything can be measured in units. Then explain what some of those units are, such as minutes, inches, cups and degrees.
By the end of the lesson, your students should understand the concept of measurements and be ready to move on to using actual measuring tools. Ask students to go home and list five things in their house they think are used for measuring. This will allow students to explore tools for measuring. Encourage them to involve their parents in the activity.