Grade: 3-5
Subject: Science

#4704. Measuring using the Metric System

Science, level: 3-5
Posted 04/08/2013 by Marigabi Cedillo (Marigabi Cedillo).
Kenmont School, Brownsville, Texas
Materials Required: Metric ruler, notebook paper, pencil, white paper, markers or colored pencils
Activity Time: 3 days 45 min
Concepts Taught: Measuring and Observing

Measuring Using the Metric System


Intended Grade Level and Age: third grade (8 year olds)


Backwards Lesson Planning Goal

At the end of the lesson the goal is for the students to have a sense of the metric system, millimeters, centimeters, and meters. The students are expected to figure out the best method for measuring certain items using the metric system, for example when measuring the top of the desk it is best to use centimeters instead of millimeters and meters. The students are also expected to begin estimating measurements. Finally, the students are expected to organize their data and present it the class.


Day 1: Hook: 5 minutes
Teacher Input: 15-20 minutes
Grouping: classroom measuring 15 minutes
Day 2: Review of Previous Day: 10 minutes
Grouping: outside nature measuring 15 minutes
Grouping: presentation preparation 15 minutes
Day 3: Review of Lesson: 10 minutes
Group Presentations: 20-30 minutes
*Adapt time to the needs of your students.


• Science Notebook
• Pencil
• Metric ruler
• White butcher paper
• Markers, colors, or colored pencils


Lesson Steps

Hook: Tell the students that you need to cover the board with butcher paper but don't know how much to use. Ask the students how can we determine how much butcher paper will be needed.

Teacher Input: The teacher will then introduce the vocabulary words needed for the lesson: measurement, estimate, metric ruler, millimeter, centimeter, and meter. The teacher will then demonstrate that it is better to use certain measurements to measure certain objects, for example using a meter to measure the board, using centimeters to measure a pencil, and using millimeters to measure a fingernail. Finally, the teacher will demonstrate how to use the metric ruler to measure and record the data.

Check for Understanding: During the class discussion and teacher input the teacher may ask questions to determine if the students are understanding. The teacher may also ask for volunteers to help with the demonstration of measuring and recording, allowing the students to be part of the presentation.

Grouping: Separate the students into pairs, or groups of three or four depending on your class size. Assign about five items that the students have to determine what unit of measurement to use, estimate the measurement, and measure the item. Demonstrate on the board how to record the data in their notebooks.
Item Unit of Measurement Estimate Measurement
Pencil Centimeter 12 cm 20 cm
Then the students will have an opportunity to go into nature and do the same activity with 5 items of their choice that they find in nature. The students will then receive a piece of butcher paper in which they will create a way to present their findings to the class.

Independent Practice: Ask the students to estimate and measure 5 items at their house for homework and report one item to the class the next day.

Closure: Students will present what they measured in nature to the class. The teacher will ask for volunteers to do final demonstrations for the class.