Lesson plan

The Smaller They Come

Help your students use rulers in the classroom with this lesson! Encourage them to measure items around them using centimeters to understand shapes and sizes.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Exploring Metric Units of Length pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Exploring Metric Units of Length pre-lesson.

Students will be able to use metric units of length.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(10 minutes)
  • Watch Measuring to the nearest cm and mm by 2minutemath
  • After watching the video, ask your students what they can measure in real life.
(15 minutes)
  • Give your students rulers, and ask them to see what units of length they see.
  • Review how to measure an object with a ruler by starting at the zero mark and measuring straight across.
  • Acknowledge that some objects aren't exact, so decimals or fractions are necessary to record an exact measurement.
  • Demonstrate on the whiteboard how to measure 3.4 centimeters. Draw several lines for practice.
(15 minutes)
  • Demonstrate to students that 3.4 centimeters can also be written as 34 millimeters.
  • Instruct your students to measure lines of different sizes and write them the two ways that they just learned.
(15 minutes)
  • Give your students the Length in Centimeters worksheet to complete.

Enrichment: Have your students complete the Measuring Length in Centimeters worksheet.

Support: Before working on decimals, have your students master the concept of measuring to a whole number. Throughout this activity, have them round up or down to the nearest whole number instead of using decimals or fractions.

(5 minutes)
  • Circulate and provide support where needed.
  • Make sure that your students are using their rulers from the correct side.
  • Collect student work as a formative assessment to check for understanding.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to complete a think-pair-share, responding to one of the following sentence stems:
    • One of the units of length we learned about today was ____.
    • My favorite part of the lesson was ____.
    • I feel ____ (good/okay/confused) about using a ruler because ____.

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