Measure Up!


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.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters


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

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Math
  • Technology


  • K
  • 1st

Class Time

  • Sessions: Two
  • Session Length: 20-30 minutes
  • Total Length: 46-90 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Terms and Concepts

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


  • 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
  • Related 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



Lesson Steps

Session 1

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Display pages from, which shows images from national sites such as the Glacier National Park Web site about trees and pine cones at or Glacier Wildlife at
  4. 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.)
  5. Distribute the "What's My Length?" worksheet and some paperclips or cubes.  Have the students measure the length of the objects and record the information.
  6. Display the completed worksheets in the classroom.
  7. 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:

Session 2

  1. Review the information about measurement from the previous lesson.
  2. 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.
  3. Have the students 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.  Have them label the objects by using stamps or label the objects after printing.
  4. Print and display the completed digital measurement pictures.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • 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.


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.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Math
Domain: K.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Describe and compare measurable attributes

  • K.MD.1. Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight.
    • Describe several measurable attributes of a single object

Discipline: Math
Domain: K.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Describe several measurable attributes of a single object

  • K.MD.2. Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has "more of"/"less of" the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
  • K.MD.3. Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.

National Standards

Discipline: Technology
Domain: All Creativity and Innovation
Cluster: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
Grade(s): Grades K–12

  • Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes
  • Create original works as a means of personal or group expression
  • Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues
  • Identify trends and forecast possibilities

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Measurement
Cluster: Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements.
Grade(s): Grades K–12

In K through grade 2 all students 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 meterstick;
  • use tools to measure; and
  • develop common referents for measures to make comparisons and estimates.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Measurement
Cluster: Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement.
Grade(s): Grades K–12

In K through grade 2 all 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.