Math Background

Measurement: When Students Ask

  • Why is knowing about measurement important?
    People use measurement every day. They measure to find how much carpet they need for a living room, or to see how tall a building is, or to find out how much water is in a swimming pool, or to know how much milk is in a container. Measurement helps us to compare sizes and quantities by using the same units. You can explain to children that in the past, people used their feet to measure, and that approach caused a lot of problems. Some people had long feet, and other people had short feet, so no one knew how long 6 feet really was. Explain to children that people finally agreed on a standard length for a foot: 12 inches.
  • What units of measure can I use to weigh an object?
    Children have probably measured their own weight in pounds, so they should understand that they can use ounces for measuring small items and pounds for measuring larger items. Introduce children to the kilogram, a metric unit of mass.
  • How can I compare units of capacity?
    Children can use hands-on activities to understand the different units of measure for capacity. This will help them understand equivalent amounts.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 2