As children learn about the physical world, they can use measurements to learn spatial concepts like:
- Size – Early spatial skills include knowing what is small and big. Measuring can help younger children use symbols to communicate their observations about size.
- Scale – Measurements can show relative sizes. For example, measure a drawing of a car, and then talk about how much bigger a real car is.
- Proportion – Measurements can show a part in relation to the whole. For example, several animals have very large noses in proportion to their face. An elephant’s nose is proportionally quite large on its face.
- Units – Young children can learn what units go with what measurements. For example, lines on a page are broken into inches or centimeters. A car drives miles. We calculate our height in feet.
- Measuring Instruments – As children grow older, they will see that measurements skills are used with many different kinds of tools. For example, protractors measure angles and graduated cylinders measure volume.
These concepts can be applied to the measurement activities and worksheets of all ages. Second graders can do a worksheet on measuring liters, and then discuss different instruments and units that measure liquids. Fifth graders can do a worksheet on measuring with the metric system, and then discuss how units affect scale.If you’d rather try a totally different math skill, check out our resources on money math