Friday, February 1, 2013

Fun with Customary Measurement Conversions

New Measurement Resources and a Freebie!

Teaching measurement can seem like such a struggle. Even when you provide plenty of opportunities for kids to practice with hands-on activities, they just don't seem to catch on. It doesn't help that our customary system of measurement makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! Twelve inches to a foot, three feet to a yard, sixteen cups to a gallon... where is the logic? Bring on the metric system! Everything is based tens which corresponds perfectly to our base ten number system.

Unfortunately, I don't think the United States will be switching to the metric system any time soon, so we are stuck trying to teach it in a way that makes sense. As with any math skill, the best way to begin is with concrete, hands-on practice using actual measuring devices like rulers, yard sticks, cups, quarts, and gallons. However, even after students practice and explore with real objects, many students have trouble converting units of measurements. The problem is that they don't know their basic units of measurement fluently. If you don't know that there are sixteen cups in a gallon, you're not going to be able to convert cups to gallons without consulting a reference.

Sounded like a perfect opportunity for math center games and cooperative learning practice! I know that measurement is a hot topic at this time of year, so I created a HUGE 70-page packet of measurement review activities and assessments aligned to Common Core Standards for 4th and 5th Grade. It's called Customary Measurement Conversions, and it consists of activities, word problems, measurement task cards, and assessments. Some of the activities were ones I had previously developed for my classroom, but the Monster Math Mix-up game was brand new and completely untested. I always test my resources with students before publishing them, so I asked my Facebook Fans if anyone would volunteer to test Monster Math Mix-up with their students.

Field-tested and Kid-Approved
Quite a few teachers volunteered to test the games, and I was thrilled to get a thumbs up from every single class.They LOVED the game! I especially appreciated the feedback I received from Denise Bishop's 4th graders. The provided WRITTEN feedback for me! Here's what they wrote:
"Monster Math Mix Up was a fantastic game! The problems were great and they were at our level. The puzzles where funny and colorful. We fully understood the directions and didn't need any assistance from Ms. Bishop. We could have used this while we were doing the measurement unit and it is a good review for us. Thank you."
I also loved a collection of photos I received from Roseanne Welte's classroom. Here's one of a student putting together one of the monster puzzles, and you can see the Monster Mix-up spinner in the background. Reading those comments and seeing those pictures made me miss those days in the classroom! I want to thank the other 4th and 5th grade teachers who helped me as well. They all gave me great feedback, and I'll be sending each of them a free copy of the final book.

Customary Measurement Foldable Freebie
I loved using foldables in the classroom, so this was a perfect opportunity to create a helpful foldable for studying measurement. You can download it for free from my TeachersPayTeachers store. To create the foldable, print the two pages back to back. Fold in half on the vertical dotted line and cut the solid lines to form flaps. Students can lift up each flap and fill in the basic conversion units during your lesson. While you are there, please follow me on TpT to be notified when I add new items to my store. All items are 50% off for the first day, so you'll want to know when I add something new.

Thanks, Digital Classroom Clipart! 
I know this is a long blog post, but it wouldn't be complete without me taking time to thank Digital Classroom Clipart for the amazing measurement clipart I used in this product. It just so happens that this very talented artist is my daughter Wendy! When I started planning this unit on customary conversions, I begged Wendy to create a collection of measurement clipart for me to use because I couldn't find what I needed anywhere else. She worked on this collection for over a week and the results astounded me! Wendy created both color and black and white versions of everything you see here. If you like it, you can purchase this collection from the Digital Classroom Clipart TpT store. If you do, please rate it and leave her feedback. In case you are wondering, yes, I did purchase it, and I left her feedback, too. It's so nice to have a talented artist in the family!

P.S. Since I just uploaded my Customary Measurement Conversions Power Pack to TpT today (Friday), it's 50% off for the rest of the day. It's aligned with CCSS 4.MD.1, 4.MD.2, and 5.MD.1 so it will be a helpful resource for any 4th or 5th grader teacher who is using Common Core standards. Better grab it now if you want it! 

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