MEASUREMENT
(Strand B)
Measuring Quantities and Making Estimates (Standards 1 and 3)
1. Axelrod, Amy. Pigs on a Blanket. New York: Simon & Schuster
Books, 1996.
The pigs want a change of pace, so they decide to go to the beach. Do
they run out of time?
 Have students keep track
of the time it takes them to do various activities at home and at
school. Classify activities of like type; if appropriate, determine
statistics (mean, median, or mode) to describe the amount of time
that students engage in the activity. Also, gather timetables from
airport, bus, or train schedules and have students determine the total
traveling time from one location to another.
2. Ash, Russell. Incredible
Comparisons. London: Dorling Kindersley, 1996.
This book provides comparisons for many different categories.
 The various comparisons
in this book provide a natural resource for creating word problems
of all types. In addition, have students compare two objects of their
own choosing, writing ratios and proportions that describe the comparisons.
3. Hoban, Tana. Is It
Larger? Is It Smaller? New York: Mulberry Paperbacks, 1985.
Relative sizes are explored through photographs of realworld objects.
 Have students estimate
sizes of objects and then actually measure the objects. Also have
students make estimates for reallife objects in their environment,
such as the height of their school, their classroom, or a famous local
building. Compare their estimates with the real measures to help students
improve their visual measuring skills with estimation.
4. Kellogg, Steven. Much
Bigger than Martin. New York: Dial Books, 1976.
A young boy always feels too small when compared to his brother. He
imagines what it would be like to be considerably bigger than his brother.
 Have students consider
life on a scale model – such as model trains or model dollhouses.
What would be the heights of tables, combs, brushes, people, etc.
in such an environment? This is a good opportunity to mix measurement
with number skills involving multiplication, division, and fractions.
5. Lionni, Leo. Inch by
Inch. New York: Mulberry Books, 1960.
An inchworm uses itself to measure lots of different objects.
 Have students measure
different objects using nonstandard measures. Have students put five
objects and five measuring units on a piece of chart paper and have
other students attempt to match the measure with the unit used.
6. Malam, John. Highest,
Longest, Deepest: A FoldOut Guide to the World's Record Breakers. London:
Simon and Schuster, 1996.
This book provides many natural examples that are record breakers for
being the longest, highest, or deepest in their category.
 Many of the same types
of activities as with Incredible Comparisons are appropriate here.
The context of record breakers in the natural environment provides
an opportunity to blend math with geography.
7. Most, Bernard. How
Big Were the Dinosaurs? San Diego: Voyager Books, 1994.
Twenty different dinosaurs are introduced, with their sizes compared
to modern day objects.
 Have students make comparisons
of themselves and everyday objects to the size of a dinosaur. For
instance, how many baseball bats would need to be laid end to end
to be equal to the length of a student’s favorite dinosaur?
8. Nathan, Cheryl and Lisa
McCourt. The Long and Short of It. Bridgewater Books, 1998.
Animal pairs, at opposite ends of the spectrum, are used for comparisons.
 Similar activities as
for How Big Were the Dinosaurs? can be used. Depending on their location,
children could visit a zoo and attempt to check some of the comparisons
in the book.
9. Walpole, Brenda. Measure
Up with Science: Distance. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Publishing
1995.
This book discusses numerous aspects of linear measurement, with many
experiments that children can complete.
 Students can engage in
activities and experiments similar to those described in the book.
Area, Perimeter, and
Volume (Standards 1 and 3)
10. Grifalconi, Ann. The Village of Round and Square Houses.
Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1986.
In the African village of Tos, the men live in square houses and the
women live in round houses. The story explains how this practice came
to be.
 Have students explore
the maximum area that can be enclosed with a given perimeter or the
minimum perimeter that is used with a given area.
11. Mendez, Phil. The
Black Snowman. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 1989.
A poor young Black boy decides he doesn't like being Black. He
and his younger brother build a black snowman of dirty snow. When a
kente cloth is placed on the snowman, he comes to life and relates important
aspects of African heritage to the young boy.
 Have students consider
the volume of various objects, including the volume of a snowman (or
snowcone). Students can estimate results by using sand or kitty litter
to fill cylinders or spheres using containers of known volume.
12. Moncure, Jane Bell. The
Biggest Snowball of All. Columbus, Ohio: American Education Publishing,
1993.
Snowballs are used to explore size.
 Have students explore
the volumes and surface areas of different balls. Students can also
explore the circumferences of balls from various sports. What are
the regulation sizes in each sport?
Weight (Standards 1 and 3)
13. Allen, Pamela. Who Sank the Boat? New York: CowardMcCann,
Inc., 1982.
A number of animals try to get in a boat. Which one causes the boat
to sink?
 Have students fill a cup
or lid floating in water with objects of the same size. How many can
the lid hold before it sinks?
14. Barner, Bob. How to
Weigh an Elephant. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1995.
Different animals compare their weight
to that of an elephant.
 Have students write ratios
or word problems comparing their weight with the weight of an animal.
How does the amount of food they eat each day in relation to their
weight compare to that of an animal of their choice?
15. Tompert, Ann. Just
a Little Bit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.
Which animal will be big enough to allow the elephant to go up and down
on the seesaw?
 Have students try a weight
experiment similar to that with Who Sank the Boat? If there is a seesaw
on the playground, have the children actually try the experiment.
Does the distance one sits from the pivot impact the number of children
needed to balance the seesaw?
Money (Standards 1 and
3)
16. Medearis, Angela Shelf. Picking Peas for a Penny. New York:
Scholastic, 1990.
This book explores what it was like to pick peas for a living during
the Depression. (The context of this book makes it great for use with
a social studies connection.)
 Have students compare
the salaries for different occupations and how they have changed over
time. Have students compare the salaries for the same positions in
different parts of the country and determine the average. Why would
salaries vary in different parts of the country?
Systems of Measurement (Standard 2)
17. Hightower, Susan. Twelve Snails to One Lizard: A Tale of Mischief
and Measurement. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.
Many measurement activities
take place as a beaver tries to measure the distance across a creek
so he can build a dam.
 Have students measure
a set of given objects in inches, feet, and yards. Record the values
in a table and have students look for patterns. This is one way to
have students develop the relations between various units.
18. Myller, Rolf. How
Big Is a Foot? New York: Dell Publishing, 1962.
An apprentice tries to make a bed for the queen. Until he measures with
the same foot size as the king, he is not able to build a bed that is
the proper size.
 Have students measure
the dimensions of the classroom using their own feet. Use the different
measures as a way to discuss the need for standard units. Have students
consider how the size of the units impacts the number of units needed.
Determining Appropriate
Units and Instruments (Standard 4)
19. Pluckrose, Henry. Math Counts: Capacity. Chicago: Children's
Press, 1995.
Capacity is discussed through realworld pictures of objects.
 Have students make estimates
of the amount that various containers will hold. Then have students
actually measure the capacity of the container. Recording an estimate
and then comparing to the actual amount is critical in helping students
develop realistic conceptions of capacity.
20. Pluckrose, Henry. Math
Counts: Length. Chicago: Children's Press, 1995.
The book discusses length through realworld pictures. Issues of customary
and metric measures are included.
 Have students make estimates
of the lengths of various objects and then check their estimates against
actual measures.
21. Pluckrose, Henry. Math
Counts: Weight. Chicago: Children's Press, 1995.
Issues of weight are discussed with pictures of realworld objects.
 Have students estimate
the weight of various objects and then check their estimates against
the actual weights.
Miscellaneous Measurement
Ideas
22. Brenner, Barbara. Wagon Wheels. New York: HarperTrophy, 1978.
A family travels from Kentucky
to Kansas in the late 1800s seeking free land.
 Have students plan a trip
from their home to a destination of their choice. How long does it
take to travel there by car? By plane?
23. Caselli, Giovanni. Wonders
of the World. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1992.
This book describes ancient and modern wonders of the world.
 Have students compare
the sizes of ancient wonders to the sizes of many of today’s
modern wonders. This book provides a natural opportunity to teach
mathematics in a social studies context.
24. Jenkins, Steve. Biggest,
Strongest, Fastest. New York: Ticknor & Fields Books, 1995.
Seventeen animals are highlighted
who represent the strongest, or biggest, or fastest, etc. in some area.
 Similar comparisons to
those made with other books can be done with this book as well.
25. Mollel, Tololwa M. The
Princess Who Lost Her Hair: An Akamba Legend. Troll Associates,
1993.
This African tale describes
a princess with long beautiful hair. Through selfishness, she loses
her hair and faces shame. With the help of a poor young man, she learns
kindness and generosity of spirit; when her hair returns, she has learned
to share with others.
 For a set period of time,
have students keep track of the length of their hair to determine how
fast it grows. The data collected can be used to determine the average
number of inches that a student’s hair grows each day or week.
26. Wells, Robert E. Is
a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? Morton Grove, IL: Albert
Whitman & Company, 1993.
Sizes of objects on earth and throughout the galaxy are compared using
the size of a blue whale.
 Have students compare
the sizes of the different planets in the solar system. How long does
light take to travel from the sun to the different planets? How long
would it take the shuttle to travel from earth to the various planets
and return home?
27. Wells, Robert E. What's
Faster than a Speeding Cheetah? Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman
& Company, 1997.
Speeds of different objects are compared through wonderful pictures
and illustrations.
 Have students make word
problems involving speed comparisons from the book and similar sources.
28. Wells, Robert E. What's
Smaller than a Pygmy Shrew? Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman &
Company, 1995.
Sizes of objects are compared
to the size of a pygmy shrew.
 Have students explore
the sizes of very small objects, including science objects such as
molecules.
©2001
Denisse R. Thompson
