Have a student come to the front of the classroom and as a class, predict the length of his or her arms, legs or ears. Group students into groups of three and explain that each students should help to measure others and should measure himself or herself.
Begin by reviewing a ruler projected on a screen, showing students both sides of the ruler and noting that one edge shows inches while the other shows centimeters. Tell them they will be measuring with the inches side of the ruler today. Have students estimate in inches how long a strip of paper you hold up might be.
Students will need a large number of 1” cubes (wooden or plastic), a collection of various sizes of boxes (cereal, tea, crackers, etc.), rulers, pencils and paper.
Put students into pairs and give each pair two different sized boxes. Students will use the cubes to measure volume. This is a great way to introduce a unit on volume. Students will follow these directions projected on the overhead screen:
Students will work in pairs. They each need pencils, rulers, bulletin board paper (one sheet for each student big enough to trace bodies), a life-size cut out of Abe Lincoln (Draw and measure this, or ask the art teacher for help!) hung up on the wall as if standing so students can see how tall he actually is.
Each student will need a milk carton filled with good soil, bean seeds, string to support the plants, graph paper to record results, a pencil and a ruler to measure the growth. You need a sunny window to put the plants near as well.
Have each student plant their seed one inch deep, one per container.
Place your containers in a sunny window. Water the seeds daily or every other day. Poke holes in the bottom of the milk cartons (this will keep roots from rotting).
Divide your class into groups of four and, first, have students measure and record the length of each member’s smile in their group. Have them compare their results with all members of the group. Students return to seats as you record each of their measurements on the board. Students need to record the results of each student’s smile as well at their seat.
Place students in groups and give each group a large quantity of unit cubes, graph paper, and colored pencils or markers.
Hold a cube up and tell students it is the cube’s first birthday. Write down words that describe the cube, like number of corners, faces and edges). Have them build what a cube may look like on its second birthday.