Tips for Teaching Your Measurement Unit

Teaching Measurement Unit for the 2nd grade.

This blog post is going to focus on 2nd grade measurement activities. My helpful tips for teaching your measuring unit can be applied to first and third grade, too, but when I wrote this blog post, I kept the Common Core MD standards for 2nd grade in mind. Specifically, we are going to be studying 2.MD.1, 2.MD.2, 2.MD.3, 2.MD.4, and 2.MD.5. These are the five standards you’ll need to cover when teaching your measurement unit. They include…

  • Measuring
  • Measuring an object twice (two units)
  • Comparing two measurements
  • Estimation of measurements
  • Measurement word problems
How to measure
Blog post outlining how to measure, how to compare measurements, how to estimate measurements, and how to solve measurement word problems.
2nd grade How to Measure Anchor Chart idea.

Reviewing How to Measure

Start with a review game of measurement activities! In first grade, students learn to measure with non-standard units of measurement. You can start your measurement unit by reviewing this 1st grade standard. Reviewing measurement with non-standard units is an excellent way for students to practice precision. Have your students find measurements of items using commonly found objects in your classroom, like paperclips or Unifix cubes! Use an anchor chart like the one above, or make it into a game!

How to pick a tool for measurement in the 2nd grade.
How to measure for 2nd graders.

(Link: 2.MD.1)

Picking the Correct Tools

After reviewing measurement activities, students will be ready to learn how to measure with correct tools. This standard is essential to students’ future success with measurement, and it will be a skill that they will carry with them forever! The 2nd Grade Common Core Standards asks students to “Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.”

So, not only will they need to know how to use appropriate tools, but they will also need to know how to select the tools, as well. Choosing and using the right tools starts with clear instructions and demonstration. The anchor chart above shows simple, clear steps for correctly using a measurement tool. Make sure that you have a chart like this on display for students until they master the skill. Have them practice each step, separately and in succession. Read on for more helpful tips for teaching your measuring unit.

Ideas for measurement lesson plans. Learn how to teach comparing measurements, how to estimate measurements, and how to solve measurement word problems.

(Link: 2.MD.1)

Measurement isn’t like every other math standard. It not only takes mathematical thinking and precision, but it’s also a kinesthetic skill. And, just like any kinesthetic skill, students will need repetition, hands-on practice and TIME in order to master it. Make sure that students are allotted time to work on this with partners, in centers, small-group, and independent practice. You could even assign them a fun time of homework or extra-credit, where students practice measurement in a real-world application!

Comparing two measurements.
Teaching two measurements for 2nd graders.
Measurements anchor chart for the primary classroom.

(Link: 2.MD.2) (Link: Unlinked Pinterest- If you know the owner of this anchor chart, please comment or email me!)

Comparing Two Measurements

The next step for students is understanding the difference in measurement units. For example, students need to know the difference in inches and centimeters, and feet and yards. Creating or displaying an interactive anchor chart is essential! Having a reference to support and reinforce their understanding of measurement will be extremely beneficial to their learning.

Measurement activity for 2nd graders.
Measurement activity for 2nd graders.

(Link: 2.MD.2)

One measurement activity you can do is to have the practice measuring the same object with each of the units. First with the customary (inch) side of a ruler and then, again, with the metric (centimeter) side of a ruler. With practice, not only will students be able to measure objects using different units, but also, they will be able to determine if two measurements are reasonable.

Comparison measurement activity for 2nd graders.
Comparison measurement activity for 2nd graders.

(Link: 2.MD.3)

There is another way to look at two measurements: Comparing! Here, students will be comparing the lengths of two objects and recognizing if one of the objects is longer or shorter. Comparing is a practice that is helpful for students when visualizing references for future measurement scenarios!

Estimation anchor chart for teaching measurement unit.

(Link: Unlinked Pinterest- If you know the owner of this anchor chart, please comment or email me!)

Teaching Students to Estimate Measurements

As you know, not all situations require an exact measurement. For example, not everyone calculates their groceries to the precise amount when shopping, but it is beneficial to be able to estimate your total as you go.  Students can use this skill as well. Being able to estimate is your students’ next step to mastering measurement. Here are a few estimating measurement activities to help kiddos practice this new skill.

Teaching estimations for 2nd grade.

(Link: 2.MD.3)

Teaching estimation in relation to length is going to involve, YEP! You guessed it! PRACTICE. After some instruction and modeling, let your students explore the room. Lots of the items in the room will be things that they have previously measured to the exact length. However, now, they will be using their reference points in order to estimate, or guess, a relative length. Estimation is just going to add to the experience they have already had with inches, centimeters, and feet and yards in the previous lessons, building a solid foundation of understanding.

Guess and check activity for teaching measurement unit.

(Link: 2.MD.3)

Teaching Students to Guess and Check Measurements

When practicing estimating, have students check their accuracy. Guess & Check activities will have students estimate the length of an object, then, measuring that same object with a measurement tool. These activities will show students if their estimation skills need some adjustment or if they are improving!

Word problems.
Measurement world problems for 2nd grade.

(Link: 2.MD.5)

Word Problems Measurement Activities

Measurement skills will work their way into word problems, which can be quite complex. Not only are students going to be looking for keywords and actions within the problem, but they are going to be using tools and checking for accuracy, too. Measurement skills add another element of difficulty to the already tricky word problem.

BURST is a marvelous tool to remember with word problems because it guides students with clear and simple steps. It teaches them to BOX important measurements and lengths. Then to UNDERLINE the question or action statement. And then RESTATE the question. Furthermore, SHOW your work. Finally, TELL your answer and describe your reasons. When teaching your measurement unit, don’t forget to get some practice with word problems in. Model, model, model. Practice, practice, practice.

Great resources.

Need resources?

In my TPT store, I have five different units that connect perfectly to teach a full measurement unit. You’ll start with 2.MD.1 then work your way through to 2.MD.5, which finishes off with measurement word problems. These five standards together will cover all standards required by Common Core math for Measurement activities!

Measurement math unit 2.MD.1
Measurement math unit 2.MD.2
Estimating measurements 2.MD.3 math unit.

(Link: 2.MD.1- Measurement) (Link: 2.MD.2 Measuring Twice) (Link: 2.MD.3 Estimating Measurement)

Comparing measurements 2.MD.4 math unit.
Measurements word problems 2.MD.5 math unit.

(Link: 2.MD.4- Comparing Measurements) (Link: 2.MD.5- Measurement Word Problems)

Here is a collection of ideas for measurement lesson plans. This blog post outlines how to measure, how to compare measurements, how to estimate measurements, and how to solve measurement word problems. #measurementactivities #measurementanchorchart #measurementsecondgrade

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