February 22, 2019
By April Brown

EL Support Lesson

Many Measurement Tools

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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the How Big is the Playground?Lesson plan.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for the How Big is the Playground?Lesson plan.

Students will be able to use appropriate tools to measure the length of an object.


Students will be able to compare and contrast two methods for measuring the length of an object with more complex sentences using sentence frames and peer discussions for support.

(3 minutes)
  • Gather students together and discuss what it means to measure something. Encourage students to think about times when they have measured something or a family member has measured something and share their ideas with an elbow partner.
  • Reflect on why measuring is an important skill to have. Allow a few students to share out their ideas and jot them on the whiteboard.
  • Ask students to do a brief think-pair-share to brainstorm tools they have seen used to measure things. Write their ideas on the whiteboard.
(10 minutes)
  • Put students in small groups (4–5 students) and pass out a copy of the Vocabulary Cards to each small group.
  • Read through the student-friendly definitions one by one, asking student volunteers to help you read the definitions.
  • Instruct the students to come up with visuals for each vocabulary word with their small groups and draw them in the blank space above each definition.
  • Provide students with access to tablets or computers in each small group so they can look up real photographs of each vocabulary word and use them to draw their illustrations.
  • Assign each small group 1–2 vocabulary words, and have each group come up to the front of the class to project their illustration on the whiteboard. Provide each group with a minute to explain why they drew the illustration they chose and how it relates to the vocabulary cards.
  • Continue this process until all of the vocabulary cards are shared.
(7 minutes)
  • Allow students to stay in their small groups and gain their attention.
  • Create a table with three columns on the whiteboard. From left to right, write the following headers "Measurement Tools", "Units", and "Objects". Record the following measurement tools in the first column: metre stick, yardstick, ruler.
  • Get out the metre stick, rope cut to one metre long, yardstick, and ruler. Ask students to think about what's similar and different about these four measurement tools.
  • Hold up the metre stick and elaborate that the metre stick is 39.37 inches, or one metre long. Record this information in the middle column titled "Units" on your table. Explain that meters are used to measure long/wide objects. Ask students to think of examples of objects that can be measured with a metre stick and record them under "Objects" on the table.
  • Hold up the yardstick next to the metre stick. Explain to the students that one yard is equal to 36 inches, a little less than a metre. Record this information in the "Units" section. Ask the students to think-pair-share what objects might be measured with a yardstick and record them under "Objects" on the table.
  • Show students the ruler. Explain to the students that the ruler is equal to one foot and the ruler is made up of 12 inches. Record this information on the table. Ask students to think-pair-share what objects might be measured with a ruler. Write their ideas in the corresponding column on the table.
  • Explain to the students that today they will be working with metre sticks and ropes cut to the length of one metre. Hold up both measurement tools.
  • Model measuring the whiteboard using the metre long rope and then the metre stick. Reinforce that when measuring objects, we should try not to overlap the measurement tool or leave large gaps.
(10 minutes)
  • Put students in partnerships and give one partner a metre stick and the other a rope.
  • Explain to the students that they will be measuring the length of the classroom using their given measurement tools.
  • Write down the following sentence frame on the whiteboard:
    • The classroom is ____Meters long. I know this because ____.
  • Read the sentence frame aloud and ask students to copy it in their maths journals. Explain to the students that they should finish the sentence frame once they have their final measurements.
  • Instruct students to get started and rotate around the classroom as students are measuring. Provide students with guidance and feedback, as necessary.


  • Provide students with vocabulary words in their home language (L1) and allow students to look up the definitions to the vocabulary words in their home language using a bilingual dictionary.
  • Have students work with a peer who speaks the same home language (L1), if possible. If not possible, pair students with sympathetic non-EL peers during explicit teaching, guided practise, and group work.


  • Encourage students to share out their ideas without referring to the sentence stems/frames you provide.
  • Challenge students to create a Venn Diagram to compare/contrast each measurement tool.
  • Have students rephrase their partner's explanation in their own words.
(5 minutes)
  • Write down the following questions and read them aloud to the students. Give the students time to answer the questions with their partners.
    • What do you notice about measuring the classroom with a rope compared to a metre stick?
    • Did you get the same measurements?
    • Why might you have different measurements?
    • Should you have the same measurements? Why or why not?
    • Did one measurement tool seem easier to use? Why?
(3 minutes)
  • Allow time for each partnership to share out their answers with the rest of the class.
  • Ask students to think about why its important to recognise measurement tools and their purpose. Jot their ideas on the whiteboard.

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