Lesson plan

Meter Stick Mambo

Get ready to shake things up with this fun measurement lesson! Students start by seeing if they can fit under a meter stick and then turn their attention to creating towers to fit under the meter stick.
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Students will measure using a meter stick.

(10 minutes)
  • Show students the meter stick. Ask them what they think it measures. Tell students that a meter stick is one meter long. One meter is the same as 100 centimeters.
  • Using a ruler, show students how long one centimeter is. Ask students if they think they are taller than a meter. Have a few students come up and see if they are taller than the meter stick.
  • Ask students if they can fit under a meter stick. Ask a student to come to the front of the class and hold the other end of the meter stick. Measure so that the meter stick is exactly one meter off the ground. Now invite students up to the front of the class to do the “Meter Stick Mambo,” seeing if they can get their bodies under the meter stick (similar to limbo).
  • After students return to their seats, ask them if they were able to fit under a meter stick, even though they were (likely) taller than a meter. Ask them how that was true.
(10 minutes)
  • Take out the snap cubes and make a tower. Show students how to measure the tower with a meter stick, recording the tower’s height in centimeters.
  • Repeat this process with a new tower. Compare the towers that you made by writing their lengths on the board.
(10 minutes)
  • Invite two students to the front of the class. Have one of them make a tower using snap cubes.
  • Ask the class to estimate, based on the measurements you did during the teacher modeling section, how long the tower that the student made is.
  • Now ask the other student to measure the tower using a meter stick.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to estimate how many snap cubes would make a tower as big as a meter stick. Have students write their estimates on their papers.
  • Have students build towers to check their estimates. As students build towers, they can come up and compare them to the meter stick (alternatively, they can work with their own meter sticks if you have enough available).

Enrichment: Have students make towers that are less and greater than a meter.

Support: Have students work next to the meter stick, adding more cubes to their towers as they go.

(5 minutes)

Assess students understanding as they measure their towers against the meter stick.

(5 minutes)

Have students share out how many cubes were equal to a meter, comparing and contrasting their answers.

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