Math Background

  • Have students research the history of measurement. They will discover some interesting trivia! For example, an inch used to be the width of a man's thumb. A yard was the length of a belt. (Source: The Kid's World Almanac of Amazing Facts About Numbers, Math, and Money, © 1992, by Margery Facklam and Margaret Thomas)
  • In your classroom set up a display of a variety of tools used for measurement. For example, show a measuring tape, yard stick, balance scale, bathroom scale, measuring cup, measuring spoon, indoor thermometer, and outdoor thermometer. Have students classify the tools according to type of measurement: length, capacity, weight, or temperature.
  • Have students do this activity in pairs: Give each pair one number cube labeled with the abbreviations of different units of measurement; for example, cm, m, km, L, mL, and kg. Have one student in each pair roll the number cube. Then the student names and records the unit of measurement and an object that could be measured using that unit. Have the other student judge the appropriateness of the response. The activity continues until each unit of measurement on the number cube has been rolled. Have students share their results with the class.
  • Post a Fahrenheit and a Celsius thermometer on a bulletin board. Have students keep a daily record of the high and low temperatures and record the temperatures on the thermometers. This is a good opportunity for your students to compare Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature readings.
  • Have students bring a favorite toy or stuffed animal to class. Then have the class estimate the weight of the toy or stuffed animal and find the exact weight on a scale.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 3