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Measure Up!

Grades K and 1
Mathematics and Technology

Lesson Plan


Students will measure different objects using non-standard units of measurement.  Students will create pictures on the computer of three different objects and measure the objects using non-standard units of measurement.


Students will demonstrate an understanding of measurement.  Students will use non-standard units to measure objects.


  • Describe the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program for background information.  The program is described at Tell the students that the back of a coin is called the reverse, and "obverse" is another name for the front.  With the students, examine each of the five 2011 quarter designs.  Locate each of the 2011 sites on a class map.  Answer any student questions.
  • Read and discuss the selected text about measurement.  Discuss with the students non-standard measurement (measuring an object with something other than a ruler, such as the same size paper clips, cubes, or the same size crayons).  Model how to measure different items found in the classroom using paper clips, coins, or cubes.
  • Display pages from, which displays images from national sites such as the Glacier National Park Web site about trees and pine cones at or Glacier Wildlife at
  • Using a digital whiteboard, model for the students how to measure an object using a cube stamp or sticky notes, by starting at the edge of the object and placing items end to end without spaces between them.  (Many of the pine cones at the Glacier National Park Web site have average cone size labels, but the pictures are not necessarily to scale.)
  • Distribute the "What's My Length?" worksheet and some paperclips or cubes and have the students measure the length of the objects and record the information.
  • Display the completed worksheets in the classroom.
  • For homework, have the students choose three objects from a national park, which the students will draw and measure on the computer in school.  Have the students select the objects from one of the Photos and Multimedia pages of national sites Web sites such as:
  • Review the information about measurement from the previous lesson.  Display pages from the Glacier Wildlife Coloring Book at  Model for the students how to draw and measure three objects found on a national site of significance by using a stamp from your digital drawing program (such as a square stamp) to measure the length of the objects.  The students will draw the three objects they selected for homework and then measure the objects.  Have them record the number of stamps needed to measure the objects underneath the objects.  Label the objects by using stamps or label the objects after printing.  Print and display the completed digital measurement pictures.


Use the students' class participation, anecdotal notes, "What's My Length?" worksheet, and digital measurement pictures to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.

Differentiated Learning

  • Provide a pre-made strip of paper with pictures of cubes laid end to end for the student to use in measuring the objects on the "What's My Length?" worksheet.
  • Provide pre-drawn objects or clip art for the students to measure in the digital drawing program.  Select the stamp for the students to use to measure the objects.
  • Allow students to work with a partner.

Connection to

Print me

Worksheets associated with this lesson plan



You will learn how to measure using objects other than a ruler.  You may draw on the computer three things found in a national park and measure them using a non-standard unit of measure.

Step-By-Step Directions

Session 1

  1. Write your name on the line on your worksheet.
  2. Write "paper clips," "coins," or "cubes" to finish the sentence, "I measured with…"
  3. Put paper clips or cubes end to end and measure the length of each picture.
  4. Write how many paper clips or cubes you needed to measure each picture.
  5. Show your work to your teacher.

Session 2

  1. Choose three things to draw and measure from a national park using the links below:
  2. Using the drawing software program on your computer, draw three things from a national park Web site to measure.
  3. Using one stamp (like a square stamp) from the drawing software program, measure the length of each picture.
  4. Write the number of stamps you needed to measure each picture next to the picture.
  5. Use the letter stamps to label each picture.
  6. Write your name on the picture.
  7. Show your work to your teacher.
  8. Print your work.



National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (

  • Measurement Standard: Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement.  Students should recognize the attributes of length, volume, weight, area, and time; compare and order objects according to these attributes; understand how to measure using nonstandard and standard units; and select an appropriate unit and tool for the attribute being measured.
  • Measurement Standard: Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements.  Student should measure with multiple copies of units of the same size, such as paper clips laid end to end; use repetition of a single unit to measure something larger than the unit, for instance, measuring the length of a room with a single meter stick; using tools to measure; and develop common referents for measures to make comparisons and estimates.


International Society for Technology in Education (

  • Creativity and Innovation: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
  • Research and Informational Fluency: Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

Side Box


Two 20- to 30-minute sessions

Materials List

  • 1 Copy of an age-appropriate text that gives information about measurement such as:

    • How Long or How Wide? A Measuring Guide by Brian P. Cleary
    • How Long Is It? by Donna Loughan
    • How Big Is a Foot? By Rolf Myller
    • Measurement by Sara Pistoia
  • Images of five quarters featuring national sites
  • “Print Me” worksheets
  • Internet access
  • Writing and drawing materials
  • Non-standard measurement tools (small paper clips, coins, cubes)
  • Common classroom objects to measure (tissue box, marker, scissors)
  • Computers with digital drawing software program


  • National parks
  • Measurement
  • Length
  • Standard
  • Non-standard

Helpful Hints

Student Side Box

What You Need

  • “Print Me” worksheets
  • Pencils
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Cubes, paper clips, or coins
  • Computer

Related Materials

  • What's My Length? (worksheet)
  • Measure Up! (Project Guide)

Related Links

The Department of the Treasury Seal