Handy Measurement

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Mathematics, Measurement (includes Time)

Grade 1- 3


Students practice mesauring different objects using nonstandard measurement tools.


Non-standard measurement is the use of items as measurement tools that are not uniform in size. Using fingers to measure something is an example of non-standard measurement. One person's fingers are not necessarily the same size as another person's fingers.
In this unit, children practice measuring different objects using non-standard measurement tools. In addition, they use both non-standard and customary measurement tools to measure the same items and compare the two answers. Also in this unit, the children find the difference between measurements using palms and spans. They use non-standard measurement tools to measure both distance and length.
Before beginning the activities, discuss the different terms and objects used for measuring tools: a finger, a palm, a span, a person's foot, and the customary measurement called a foot (12 inches).

Model how to measure an item using non-standard measurement. (Note: Remind the children to always begin measuring at the beginning of the object.)


  • ruler labeled in inches
  • pencils
  • activity sheets (3 per student)

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