Earlier this week the children were presented with a challenge of finding out how wide our classroom was.  In this challenged they were asked to be critical thinkers, as all known measuring tools were taken out of the equation.  The children grouped up based on similar ideas of how they could problem solve.  Below are some images of this activity in action!

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Questions and comments that were observed coming from the children while they were engaged in this activity were:

We don’t know how long the book is.

Does it matter if we aren’t using all of the same “thing” to measure with?

We don’t have enough cubes.

After the actual measuring activity was complete, we came together to analyze our results.  We were surprised to see quite a few answers, but none of the answers were them same.  I proposed the question “WHY were our results not the same answer if we were all measuring the same thing?”

As a group they discovered that:

We all used different items to measure with.

Some lines of measurement weren’t straight, which therefore gave a different answer.

Some lines of measurement had gaps in them.

Some lines of measurement included multiple “units of measurement”.

I then asked them “From this learning experience can you now tell me why we have standards measuring tools?”  The children realized that if we didn’t all use the same tool, and keep our lines straight, then we would all continue to have different measurement answers.  BINGO!

We then began to brainstorm measurement tools  that they are familiar with and ways they can measure something  and here is our running list so far.  Please add some new ideas in the comments section so we can add them to our list!

Rulers, measuring tape (tape measure), yard stick, mete stick, weighing scale, balance scale, speedometer, trundle wheel, Odometer (Kilometer per hour/ miles per hour, clock, height, directions (N,S,E,W), teperature (degree Fahrenheit/ degrees Celsius, thermometer, decibel (noise volume)