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EL Support Lesson
Exploring Metric Units of Length
Students will be able to use metric units of length.
Students will be able to identify standard measures of length with content-specific vocabulary using task cards and sentence frames for support.
- Gather students together in a comfortable area. Say, "I really want to buy a new table cloth for my table at home. I'm having friends come over this weekend. I just don't know how long I need the table cloth to be. Does anyone have an idea what I should do?"
- Ask students to turn and talk to a partner, sharing their ideas. Allow a few students to share their ideas with the whole class.
- Elaborate that you should measure your table before you purchase the table cloth. Ask students to turn and talk to a partner, sharing times when they, a friend, or a family member has had to measure something. Write their ideas on the board.
- Ask students what would happen if you did not measure your table prior to purchasing the table cloth. What could happen? Have students turn and talk to a partner, sharing their ideas. Explain to the students that if you did not measure your table before purchasing the table cloth, you might purchase a table cloth that is too big or too small.
- Explain to the students that today they will be learning about three different units of length: millimeter, centimeter, and meter!
Explicit Instruction/Teacher modeling(10 minutes)
- Put students in small groups. Distribute the Vocabulary Cards worksheet and coloring materials to each student.
- Read through the student-friendly definitions and refer to the visuals to support student understanding. Elaborate that today students will be looking at units of measurement that measure length.
- Project the bead and penny on the whiteboard. Get out the meter stick and display it near the front of the classroom so all students can see it.
- Hold up the meter stick and say, "This stick is a meter long. A meter is a unit of length, meaning we can use a meter to measure objects from end to end. Can you think of some things we might measure with a meter?" Have students turn to an elbow partner and share their answer. Provide a sentence frame, such as:
- We can measure ____ with a meter stick because ____.
- Point to the projected penny on the whiteboard. Say, "This penny's diameter, the straight line passing from side to side (draw a line through the penny on the whiteboard), is about two centimeters long. Is a centimeter smaller or bigger than a meter? Stand up if you think it is smaller. Stay seated if you think it is bigger." Allow a few students to share their ideas with the rest of the class.
- Show the students the bead projected on the whiteboard. Explain to the students that often, people who make jewelry measure beads and gems using millimeters. Ask students to turn and talk to an elbow partner, explaining why they think jewelry makers use a millimeter to measure beads and gems. Provide a sentence stem to support student discussion, such as:
- People who make jewelry use millimeters because ____.
- Explain to the students that a millimeter is a very small unit of length. Explain to the students that the bead projected on the whiteboard is about five millimeters. This is a very small bead. Ask students to brainstorm ideas of other objects that might be five millimeters or less with a partner.
- Have students cut out each vocabulary card separately and glue the units of length in their math journals from smallest to largest. Ask students to draw a picture of the bead, penny, and meter stick below or above each of their vocabulary cards. Encourage students to discuss their ideas with their small groups to check for accuracy. Rotate around the room and assist students as needed.
Guided Practice(12 minutes)
- Write the following questions and sentence frames on the whiteboard:
- What items in the classroom can be measured using a meter stick?
- ____ can be measured using a meter stick because ____.
- What items in the classroom can be measured using a centimeter?
- ____ can be measured using a centimeter because ____.
- What items in the classroom can be measured using a millimeter?
- ____ can be measured using a millimeter because ____.
- What items in the classroom can be measured using a meter stick?
- Ask students to go back to their seats and have students count off by the number of students in the group so that every group has a 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. Pass out one meter rope, bead, and penny to each group. Explain to the students that these objects can be used to remind them how small or big each unit of length is.
- Read through the questions on the board and ask a few students to explain what the questions are asking in their own words.
- Find an object in the room that can be measured using one of the units of length and model completing a sentence frame, providing an explanation as to why that unit of length works.
- Give the students a certain amount of time to answer the questions in their math journals. Make sure that everyone in the group can explain why they chose a certain unit of length. The why is the most important part in this activity.
- Call out a random number (numbers will vary, depending on how many students are in each group). At that point, groups are no longer allowed to talk or write to each other but the reporters are allowed to use the notes that have already been created. The students with the number called are the reporters for their group. The teacher asks the reporters, one at a time, to explain why they chose a certain unit of length, to agree/disagree with the previous reporter, or to justify the reasoning of their group in some way.
Group work time(10 minutes)
- Collect the meter ropes, pennies, and beads from each small group. Put them on a table at the front of the classroom so students can use them as a resource during group work.
- Put students in partnerships and pass out one copy of the What Should We Use? worksheet to each pair. Read through the directions and show students the answer sheet where they will record their answers.
- Remind students to use their math journals and vocabulary cards for support as they complete the worksheet. On the whiteboard, write the following speaking and listening goals:
- Follows rules for discussions.
- Links comments to others remarks.
- Ask for clarification if you don't understand.
- Read through the speaking and listening goals and ask students to turn and talk to their partners, sharing an example of a rule for discussions. Allow a few students to share out. Repeat the same process for the remaining speaking and listening goals.
- Give students time to complete their worksheets and rotate around the classroom, providing support as needed.
Additional EL adaptations
- Show students an image of an example table and table cloth to provide context.
- Provide an image of a jeweler at their jewelry shop, measuring a bead using a ruler with millimeters to support student understanding of your real-world example.
- Provide access to a bilingual picture dictionary or online picture dictionary to support students with understanding other tricky words throughout the lesson.
- Allow students to work in a small, teacher-led group during guided practice and group work. Simplify story problems and use familiar context to support student understanding.
- Allow students to bring the penny with them during the closing activity so they can remember what one centimeter is (a penny is approximately 2 cm).
- Encourage students to answer questions and participate in discussions without referring to the sentence stems or frames for support.
- Ask students to explaining the reasoning behind the order they choose to paste the units of length in during explicit teaching.
- Have students write down their answers during guided practice without using the provided sentence frames.
- Encourage students to paraphrase what members of their group say to justify their reasoning for choosing a certain unit of length.
- Collect the What Should We Use? worksheet and assess student understanding of the units of length and ability to explain their reasoning.
- Fill out the Formative Assessment: Speaking and Listening as you rotate around the classroom.
Review and closing(5 minutes)
- Ask students to gather in a circle. Explain to the students that when you say, "On your mark, get set, GO!" they will scramble and stand beside or hold up an object they could measure using a centimeter. Provide a sentence frame, such as:
- I can measure ____ with a centimeter because ____.
- Ask a few students to share their findings with the class. Reinforce that units of length are important to understand because we need to measure things in every day life. Ask students to briefly turn and talk with a partner, sharing what unit of length they think you should use to measure your table at home this evening!