This is the third part of a 5-day blog series all about teaching Measurement and Data! From hands-on activities and manipulatives to technology-based approaches, there are lots of great ways to teach measurement and data so that your students acquire essential skills while having fun at the same time. In this third post of the series, we’ll explore measurement tools that will support you as you teach measurement and data in your elementary classroom. We will also talk about organization tips to keep your measurement tools & manipulatives accessible and effective!
Because the Measurement and Data standards cover so many skills, I am going to keep each of the blog posts organized in skill sections.
All items include affiliate links to Amazon.
Dimensions & Distance Tools & Organization
First up: Measuring Lengths! For this, you will need measuring tools and objects to measure. Remember, that many of your grade level standards have students measuring with non-standard units, too, like paper clips or snap cubes. So, don’t forget to incorporate some practice with your standards-based tools. Here are some of my favorite measuring tools and manipulatives:
- Inch Worms Measuring Kit
- Measuring Worms
- Pack of 24 Rulers
- 10 Pack Yard Stick
- 6 Pack Colorful Measuring Tapes
- 10 Pack Fun Character Measuring Tapes
Alternative tools to consider:
- Snap Cubes
- 1,000 Paper Clips (10 Boxes of 100)
- 450 Colorful Paper Clips
- printable rulers
Capacity Tools & Organization
When it comes to capacity, having real-life models is so helpful for student understanding. Capacity is a concept that is hard to imagine as “sizes.” Here are some of my favorite measurement tools for capacity:
Alternative options & tips for collecting tools:
- Restaurant Containers (Quart, Pint, Cup)
- Milk jugs (Gallon, quart, pint)
- Restaurant to-go containers
- Ask guardians to collect and donate
- Ask your local deli counter or restaurant for donations
Weight Tools & Organization
Additionally, weight is something that requires some hands-on practice! The main tools you will need are weights and scales- Pan/Bucket Balance Scale or a Standard Analog Kitchen Scale. Here are some of my favorite scales and weights:
- Pan Balance Scale
- Frog Balance Scale
- Monster Balance Scale
- Nestable Bucket Scale
- Hexagram Weights
- 5 Kg Food Scale
You can also use alternative items for weight measurement:
- paper clips
- snap cubes
- base-ten blocks
Time Tools & Organization
Next up, we have time measurement! And, you guessed it. You need clocks! Here are some of my favorite clock tools:
- Time Activity Set
- Quarters Wall Clock
- Dry Erase Teaching Clock & 25 Dry-Erase Student Clocks
- Magnetic Dry Erase Quarter Clock
- Class Set Mini-Geared Clocks
- Big Time Demonstration Geared Clock
Another great way to practice time measurement and clock math is to make printable clocks and store them in dry-erase pouches.
Money Tools & Organization
For money measurement, you will need lots of coins! I would try to collect enough that your students can each have a small bag or container of their own coins for counting. A great set is the bin of 768 Coins! I, also, love the Big Money set for teaching because you can put them on the board and they are large enough for students to see and understand.
Graphing Tools & Organization
Lastly, we have data and graphing. You need: graphing paper and objects to count. Plus, loads of survey questions and/or data! I love these graph paper sticky notes because they can easily be used for an individual graph and turned in as an exit slip! You can also cut graphing paper into smaller pieces with a paper cutter.
- 450 Sheets Graphing Paper
- 24 Packs Graphing Paper Sticky Notes
- Fun-Size M&Ms Pouches
- 200 Mini Bear Counters
- Mott’s Fruit Snacks
It is always fun to use something like fruit snacks or m&ms for one of your graphing lessons. They are already individually packaged and have data sitting inside! *Kids love this too, of course!*
But, you can also use survey questions and data for your graphing practice. These are some simple topics to cover in your graphing lessons:
- books read
- school transportation
- eye color
Storage & Organization for Measurement Tools
When it comes to math manipulatives and tools, organization is key. Using tools in your math lessons is so important, but without a good system to keep things organized, we always end up with fewer tools than we started with. And we don’t want to spend more money or time collecting items we already had at one point. So, here are some of my favorite storage and organization containers for math tools:
- 28 Clear Multi-Size Storage Bins
- 36 Mesh Zipper Pouches
- 30 Dry-Erase Pockets
- 16 Photo Box Craft Keeper with Handle
- 20 Clear Shoe Box Totes
- 36 Pack Small Round Storage Containers with Lids
How to Use these Organization Tools:
Now, what to do with these? Here some simple steps I like to follow when planning for *USEABLE* storage.
- Gather ALL of the items you have for a specific topic or skill.
- Count the items *AND RECORD* the totals on a sticky note.
- If the items are to be used whole-group, place them in a container that is to be stored with teacher-use items. Record the item name and the total number of objects on the container itself: inside the lid works great! (Sometimes, teachers will even record the date, too).
- If the items are to be used individually, or as groups, divide the total number of objects by your total number of students or student groups. Then, divide those items into separate, smaller containers. Again, LABEL with the item name and total numbers.
- Lastly, create a permanent and temporary locations system. Meaning- Where will you keep these items permanently for storage? and where will you keep these items temporarily for use?
- Many teachers will create “table” boxes for manipulatives and supplies that are currently in use.
- Students should be able to access these “temporary locations” and know the expectations for keeping supplies organized.
- Try to create a system that is easy to manage and takes work off of your plate.
- I really love some of the ideas over at The Average Teacher and Saddle Up for Second Grade!
Thank you so much for your interest in this 5-part Measurement and Data blog series! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s topic: Measurement Assessment & Differentiation!