Exploring Measurement With Silhouettes

Having students use their bodies is a fun and engaging way to explore measurement. For this idea your students will use different non-standard units to measure and record the heights…

Having students use their bodies is a fun and engaging way to explore measurement. For this idea your students will use different non-standard units to measure and record the heights of their silhouettes.

What you’ll need

You will need:

• Large sheets of paper for students to be drawn around.
• Different units of measure, for example: popsticks, paper clips, cubes, pencils, rulers etc.
• Markers to draw with.

Lesson steps

1. Have your students work either in a small group or with a partner. Provide each group with a different unit of measure.
2. In the group one of the students lays on the piece of paper in a standing pose (feet together). The other students use the marker to draw around the student.
3. The students cut out the silhouette.
4. Next, they fold the silhouette in half lengthwise.
5. They use their unit of measure to count how many can lie along the foldline from the base of the foot to the top of the head. They then record their measurement. For example: Joe is more than 12 popsticks and less than 13 popsticks tall.
6. Display the silhouettes and discuss what your students notice.

Teaching points

• Some questions you can ask your students: what do our measurements tell us about the differences in our heights? What doesn’t it tell us? Can we be more accurate with smaller units of measure?
• If you do not have room for body silhouettes you could adapt this to have students draw around their foot and then use different units to measure their length.
• This activity could be adapted by students using equal strips (about 40cm long) of unmarked paper to measure and record the length of different parts of their bodies using the strip as a unit. Ask them: which parts of your body are equal in length? What problems do they encounter using the strips? What if it is in between, how do they explain part measures?

Graphic Credits: Graphics From the Pond and Lita Lita

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