Measuring Temperature

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Mathematics, Measurement (includes Time)

Grade 3- 5


Students learn how to determine temperature on a thermometer and learn about both the Fahreneheit and Celsius scales.


Introduce the following facts to students.

  • The temperature on a thermometer is determined by finding the level of the red mercury in the tube and the number on the temperature scale across from it.
  • The temperature is written in numbers with the ° sign. For example, 70° F is read: 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • The Fahrenheit scale records the freezing point of water at 32° F and the boiling point of water at 212° F (at sea level).
  • The temperature is usually reported in degrees Fahrenheit in newspapers, on the radio, and on television.
    • The Celsius scale is based on the freezing point of water at 0° C and a boiling point of water at 100° C (at sea level).
    • The Celsius thermometer is usually used by scientists.

    Show students examples of Fahrenheit and Celsius thermomter.

    Go over the following examples with students.
    Sample A
    A Fahrenheit thermometer has a reading of 68°, a normal room temperature. How much above freezing is this? To find the answer, subtract 32 (the freezing point of water) from 68.
    The answer is 36 degrees above the freezing point of water, or 36° F.
    Sample B
    How many degrees below freezing is -10° F?
    Freezing is 32° F which is 32 degrees above 0° F.
    Add 10 more degrees (for the -10° F). The temperature is 42 degrees below freezing.
    Distribute the activity sheet to students.


  • Using a Fahrenheit Thermometer activity sheet (one per student)
  • pencils

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