Finding Measurement Tough to Manage? Ideas for 4th and 5th Grade

We continue our awesome guest post from Chris of Making Meaning.  If you missed the first post about finding time for measurement and data for 2nd and 3rd grade, read more here.  

Take it away Chris!
The Fourth Grade MD standards:
As fractions become more important in 4th grade, the percentage of standards in the MD strand goes down to 25% (7 out of 28).  The focus switches to converting measurements, problem solving, and really interpreting data.  Angles are introduced and are a major focus of the 4th grade MD standards.

Here are some ways you can help your students master the Common Core Measurement and Data standards for fourth grade:

1. Make tons of references to measurements.  Reading a book about whales?  Have students estimate their length and weight.  When you tell them the actual measurements, have them figure out how far off they were, and have them convert their measurements into different units.  Talk about time in minutes, seconds, and hours- "You have 3 minutes to clean up!  That's 180 seconds or 1/20th of an hour!!" Give out stopwatches and let students time how long things take (100 jumping jacks, walking to art class) and then report to the class.  Let them estimate and measure masses on a bathroom scale and with a pan balance.  Creating a measurement center where students rotate through activities is one way to manage this.  You could even have some measurement days where students bring in things from home that they would like to measure and then rotate through mass, liquid, time, and length stations.  See #2 in the third grade list above for more ideas...
CCSS: 4.MD.A.1

2. Do a measurement problem of the day.   Are you working on multiplication right now in math?  Create a multiplication word problem that uses money.  Reviewing fractions?  Add in some recipe word problems that incorporate liquid measurements.   Rotate through liquids, mass, length, money, and time.  Don't forget to include some where students will have to convert from larger to smaller units.  Oh, and don't forget some perimeter/ area problems, too!
CCSS: 4.MD.A.2-3

3. Yes, you guessed it: Keep graphing and plotting!  (See the 2nd and 3rd grade lists above for ideas.)  But take it to the next level by having students create and solve problems based on their plots.   Or, have them make observations based on the data and ask their peers whether they agree/ disagree (based on the data!).  Have students separate their observations on the left side of an interactive bulletin board and put the graphs or plot on the right.  See if they can match them up!
CCSS: 4.MD.B.4
I found an angle!!
4.  Angles are awesome and there are lots of fun things to do with them.  Play a estimating game: One player says an angle, while the other players try to draw it without a protractor.  Measure it with the protractor and the closest one wins and gets to say the next angle.  Do a brain break where one student calls out angles (acute, obtuse, or actual degrees) and the others need to find a partner and make that angle.  Put a piece of ribbon through the middle of a protractor so students can hang them around their necks and take them everywhere they go. (Super stylish!)  Have them report back the next day on the coolest angles they found and measured.  The idea here is to gain familiarity- the more they can recognize a 45 degree angle, the less likely they are to measure it wrong and call it 135 degrees.
CCSS: 4.MD.C.5-7

The Fifth Grade MD standards:
In fifth grade, the focus on the measurement and data standards is further decreased, as fractions and decimals become more and more important.  However, important converting, plotting, and problem solving skills continue to develop.  Volume and cubic units are introduced in fifth grade, too.

Here are some ways you can help your students master the Common Core Measurement and Data standards for fifth grade:

1. Continue converting, plotting, and problem solving with measurements.  Incorporate these concepts as much as possible into your literacy and content area lessons.  Studying the American Colonies?  Do some problem solving with liquid measurements in colonial recipes.  Working on a weather unit in science?  Plot and analyze hurricane data.  You get the idea...
CCSS: 5.MD.A.1-B.2

2. Build tons and tons of cube structures.  (This is a great activity to do with your Kindergarten buddies, by the way!)  Build ones that are long and short, ones that are tall and narrow, ones that are perfect cubes.  Let the kids experiment with different size cubes (but not within the same structure!).  Refer to these cubes as "unit cubes" or "cubic units." As you build and talk about your structures, students will grow to understand the concept of volume and that you can count the cubes to measure that volume.  Eventually, as students build more and more cube structures and as their understanding of volume grows, they will stop counting and move on to adding the number of cubes in each layer.  And as they build more, that adding will grow into multiplication and they will figure out and understand the length x width x height formula.
CCSS: 5.MD.C.3-4

3. Once students have largely mastered the art of building cube structures, get them started building complex cube structures- basically two cube structures "stuck" together.  Challenge them to find the volume now!
CCSS: 5.MD.C.5

Not overwhelmed yet?  Want even more ideas?  Check out this Measurement, Data, and Graphs Pinterest board!

Happy (Measurement and Data) Teaching!!

I have 12 years of experience teaching elementary- in urban and suburban schools; self-contained special education, inclusion, and gifted and talented; and working with ELLs and students from many different cultures and backgrounds.  Now, I do a lot of volunteer work with the public schools in my New York City neighborhood while I work on writing curriculum and transitioning to a career in global philanthropy.  My TpT store and my blog, Making Meaning, mostly focus on my strongest areas of expertise- classroom management/ organization, upper elementary math, and the Common Core.  Oh, and I love to travel!

1 comment:

Susanna Westby said...

I really appreciate these specific, hands-on ideas! I am also a big believer in the "question of the day" idea to keep concepts fresh and well-practiced. Great post!
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