Do your measurement lessons measure up? I find measurement can be a bit of a neglected though an essential area of math. From checking lengths with a ruler and comparing size to calculating the area of different shapes, students need to be able to measure. They also need to measure time, which means telling time, estimating time, and using calendar skills.
Whether you are teaching length, area, time, or calendar skills, measurement games should be part of your math teaching toolkit.
3 measurement games to try
Try these games to practice length, area, and time.
Length measurement games
Try sorting games to practice working with length. Here are a few variations.
- Explain that height is a type of length. Ask students to arrange themselves in height order without talking. To keep things moving, you can set a time limit. This game gives students a chance to get up and move and serves also as a cooperative game, all while having students compare length (height). Once students are done, ask them to use comparative language to describe their line. For example, the tallest person is near the door and the shortest person is near the window, or I stood between Layla and Lorenzo, because Layla is taller than me, and Lorenzo is shorter.
- For another activity, give students a variety of objects and ask them to sort them by length. Ask them to label or describe the different groupings they made.
- Have students estimate the length of an object or space (the size of the mat, the length of the room, the width of their desk). Have students estimate using a nontraditional unit of measure like their own foot or their math book. Have them measure the space to compare their estimate. Then ask them to make a new estimate in a traditional unit of measure such as inches, centimeters, feet or meters.
Area measurement games
Have students play this game to explore how the area can stay the same even as shape or perimeter changes. You’ll need grid paper, paper squares (5cm x 5cm or 2in by 2 in).
Show students how to find the area of the square using the grid paper and using the area formula (L X W).
Then show them how to find the perimeter or the distance around the square. See if they can identify the formula to find the perimeter. 2 x (L+W)
Make sure students are clear on the difference between area and perimeter.
Then cut your square into two pieces (to keep it simple, try cutting it first into two rectangles). Arrange your two pieces so they are connected, but not overlapping. Have students find the area and perimeter of the new shape.
Have students cut the squares in other ways and put them together. Have them note the perimeter and area of each.
Cut out a number of shapes, ideally ones that include only full or half units if laid against a grid. Create shapes that have similar areas, but different shapes. Have students use grid paper or a ruler and the area formula to match up shapes with similar areas. See how quickly they can find matches.
Time measurement games
Races are an excellent way for students to compare durations of time. Have students compare the time it takes one team to complete a race to the time it takes another. Alternately compare the time it takes to complete different types of races.
Possible races include:
- Egg and spoon race
- Three-legged race
- Skipping race
- Hopping race.
Mark off a start and finish line to use for all the races. Egg and spoon race require spoons and hardboiled or plastic eggs. The three-legged race requires something to attach legs together. You’ll also need a way to time the races (see the questions below).
Ask your students:
- Do you all have to start at the same time?
- What about the timer, what can be used? (Some options are stopwatches, a phone or other device with a stopwatch feature, or the second hand of a wall clock.)
- When students compare the races, get them to use comparison language, such as less time, more time, the same amount of time, took a shorter amount of time, took a longer amount of time.
To help keep the focus on the measurement of time, you may choose not to have teams racing at the same time.
Measurement games and more
Measurement is just one of the key math topics you need to teach. Last week, I talked about ways to teach another math topic: 2D shapes. Shapes are part of one of my favorite areas, space. I’ve put ideas for teaching measurement, space, number (place value, times tables, 100s charts and more), mental math, and chance and data together for you in one resource. Here’s a peek at what’s inside:
Included in this section are games and activities to help students with place value, the order of numbers, counting, problem-solving and multiplication facts. Games and activities include:
- Place value cards
- Hundreds chart puzzles
- Flowchart sums
- Calculator games
- Times tables booklets
- Card turnover game
- Dice games
This section includes activities and games to help teach various mental math strategies. Games and activities include:
- Counting on strategy
- Near doubles strategy
- Compatible numbers strategy
- Partitioning strategy
- Estimating strategy
One of my favorite areas to teach in math is space. This section includes the different aspects of space: shapes, location, and transformation of shapes. Games and activities include:
- Exploring and classifying shapes
- Transformation puzzles
- Shapes that tessellate
- 2D shape dominoes
- Create a mystic rose
This math area includes calendar activities, time, area and perimeter. Games and activities include:
- Calendar ideas
- Teaching elapsed time
- Time task cards
- Measurement with silhouettes
- Mini length activities
- The area stays the same
- Area task cards
Chance and data
In this section I share with you ideas and games for teaching chance and data, including specific vocabulary, making predictions, chance events, reasoning, and Venn diagrams. Games and activities include:
- Exploring chance
- Chance picture cards
- Sorting data with Venn diagrams
Cool math games
Links to fun math games from around the web to help keep students engaged or to share as out of school practice.
In the Bumper Book of Fun Math Games and Activities, you get more than 138 pages of ‘go to’ book of maths strategies, games and activities suitable for students in grades 1 – 4. You get a mix of activity sheets for use in the classroom or to consolidate skills at home and other games and activities for individual, small group or whole class practice.