From weighing ingredients to deciding if a new piece of furniture is a good fit, measuring is a big part of our everyday lives. But teaching it can be a little dry and confusing — especially for young kids.
Keep reading for 4 of the best, hands-on, (and fun!) ways to teach kids everything they need to know about measuring. We’ll also drop in 5 measuring worksheet bundles to bring your kid(s) up to speed with fun activities, practical examples, and so much more.
Let’s get started.
Bake a cake!
Baking is a great way to show your kid(s) how measurements work in action.
First, you’ll have to measure your flour, butter, and sugar. Involve your student(s) in this as much as you can. Explain the relevant measuring units, tell them the amount you need, and ask them to let you know when you’ve reached it.
Sure, they might not always get it right (so be sure to double-check!), but by giving your kid(s) hands-on experience, they’ll begin to understand how to use things like measuring cups and scales, which is key to developing their measuring skills.
After mixing your batter, it’s time to put it in the oven.
This is a great opportunity to explain how time itself is a form of measurement. Just like weighing the amount of flour, you now need to measure how long the cake stays in.
Usually, a cake needs around 45 minutes to bake. So, ask your student(s) to work out at what time the cake should be done baking.
After your allotted time, you will have measured in two different units (ounces/grams and minutes), used measuring tools, and practiced addition — all in one “lesson”.
Who knew math could be so fun?!
Before all the fun, though, you might first want to cover the basics of measuring time, volume, and masses. Our worksheet bundle on measuring time, liquid volumes, and masses will help with that. It’s filled with 38 interactive pages that’ll teach your kid(s) how to solve problems involving time, how to estimate measurements, and how to measure liquids and objects using the correct unit. Perfect!
Measure with matchsticks, blocks, straws, and other non-standard units
A big part of familiarizing your class with measuring is by removing the technical language and tools. So, forget the units, put away the rulers, and have some fun!
In the early years, measuring in non-standard units is the key to teaching a child how to measure. This could be by measuring in straws, paper clips, matchsticks, blocks, or anything else that your child can measure up, one-by-one, against another object.
For example, if your child wants to measure their favorite storybook, you could help them do this by placing matchsticks alongside it.
This process is known as measuring lengths indirectly through the use of iterating (or non-standard) units. In other words, matchsticks clearly won’t deliver an actual measurement, but they will help your child estimate the length of objects in relation to other, smaller items.
Not only will this improve a child’s understanding of proportions, but it’ll also give him or her a head start when it comes to transitioning to standard units later in her education.
To introduce your kid(s) to indirect measuring, check out our non-standard measurement units worksheet bundle for fun activities, entertaining examples, and so much more.
Incorporate measuring into fun activities
Okay, baking a cake is pretty fun. But it might still be a little out of your child’s domain. So, why not try incorporating measuring into fun activities that your kid(s) are already doing on their own?
Paper airplane races, for example, offer a great opportunity to teach some quick measuring lessons in a fun and interactive way. Grab some paper, a timer, and a tape measure, and ask them to time how long each of their planes flew, estimate the distance they traveled, and then measure the actual distance.
As always, they’ll certainly benefit from learning the basics first — and our estimating and measuring lengths worksheet bundle can help with that. This bundle will also prepare your student(s) for other fun measuring tasks. In fact, with the basics covered, there’s no end to what your class could experiment with!
Got your measurements mastered? Take it to the next level
Once your child has grasped the basics, it might be time to take things up a level. After all, you don’t want them to get bored, nor do you want them to become disengaged with measuring.
For example, you could introduce your child to the topic of converting units. This is a trickier part of measuring and a good challenge for those with a little more confidence. Teaching, for instance, that a certain amount of units can create an entirely new unit is a great way of advancing measurements.
Our converting measurement units worksheet bundle covers all the different conversions they’ll need to know, and is a great place to start.
You could also diversify the way you teach measurements by relating it to other topics in math. Estimating, for example, is directly related to measuring in terms of guessing lengths, speeds, and volumes. It’ll also teach your kid(s) about measuring probability and likelihood, too, which is definitely worth exploring.
So…how did we measure up?
We hope this article has left you feeling inspired, prepared, and ready to teach your kid(s) about measuring in a fun, interactive, and practical way.
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Link will appear as 4 Hands-on Ideas To Explain Measurement To Your Kids (+ 5 Interactive Measurement Worksheet Bundles): https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 10, 2020