Measurement activity

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Activity (a): Standard and Non-standard units


   1. To help students understand difference between standard and non-standard units of measurement and need for standard units

   2. To help students understand the meaning of ‘unit’ and ‘iterations’

   3. To help address misconceptions associated with measuring length

   4. To help students understand how length is measured using a ruler

   5. To understand how mapping and scaling work using a real life example

Materials: Cardboard/newspaper sheets, ribbons of different colours, glue, scissors, various objects for measuring


   1. Students are divided into groups and each group is given a cardboard sheet/newspaper

   2. Students are first asked to fold the sheet in any way they want and are then given the task of sticking a ribbon as the border for their sheet.

   3. To determine the length of ribbon needed, students are given a collection of objects to choose from.

   4. They should use the chosen object to measure how many units of it are needed to cover the border of the sheet.

   5. At the end of the activity, the facilitator discusses standard and non-standard units and meaning of ‘unit’ and ‘iterations’      

Activity(b): Mapping your school


   1. To apply the understanding of unit and iteration to measure and map the school premises

   2. To be able to estimate and decide the most suitable length of string for measuring

   3.  To understand how the measurements can be graphically depicted


   1. Students are divided in groups and assigned different parts of their school like classrooms, corridor, etc.

   2.  Each group is given 3 pieces of string whose lengths should be determined by the groups themselves. The length of the string can vary from 0.5 – 2m

   3.  Students are to measure the assigned premises using the 3 strings, making note of the measurements of all sides

   4.  Once students have measured the assigned parts of their school, a line diagram(map) is created on Geogebra using all the student groups’ measurements

Activity (c): Measuring with a ruler

Materials: Geogebra file, projector, worksheet with questions
Download this geogebra file from this link.


   1. Each student is given a chit of paper with two questions about how the length of a pencil is measured against different types of scales (with divisions and numeric markings, a broken scale, and one with only divisions marked). Multiple sets of these questions can be prepared and distributed amongst the students.

      This is done to identify whether students understand measurement of length as the difference between the starting and the end point on a ruler (number of iterations of a cm) or only as the position of the end point

   2. Once all students have answered and their chits are collected, display the questions one by one on the projector and discuss student responses.

   3.  For each question, ask students to come to the board/screen and explain to the class their understanding. If students have different answers to a question, probe each set of students to clarify why they think so

   4. Finally, explain to students the correct ways of measuring by taking different kinds of examples including a broken scale and a scale without number markings

   5. Towards the end of the discussion, establish that a cm is one of the units of measurements and multiple iterations of it are used to measure the length of different objects