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### Elementary Science

#### Measurement

Author Post
Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Measurement is often covered early in the school year and provides lots of opportunity for connections to math and literature (more on that later). In response to a listserve thread, I have put together a small collection of NSTA and outside web resources on measurement. This collection is primarily directed to elementary and middle school and includes lesson openers, lesson plans and background reading.

###### Measurement Collection (17 items)
Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Hi Pam, Thanks for opening this thread. In thinking about things many science teachers address early in the school year, I decided to create a collection on accuracy and precisiion geared for elementary and middle schools. While searching for resources, I encountered this PhET simulation on Estimation. Learning to estimate is key to making sound measurements and in reasoning if a quantity seems in the ballpark or not. I'm sharing the simulation here in the hopes that I can get some input from elementary and middle school teachers. Learning Goals cited in the simulation: •Estimating Length: guess the number of small line segments that can fit into a longer line segment. •Estimating Area: guess the number of flat square or circles that can fit into a larger flat square or circle. •Estimating Volume: guess the number of cubes or spheres that can fit into a larger cube or sphere. Here is the URL: http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/estimation There are several other educational items available from PhET that I am going to explore, too. So, GentleTeachers, what are your thoughts? ~patty

#### Attachments

Caryn Meirs 26235 Points

Thank you for starting this topic Pam!

I open the discussion of measurement for the year with two conversations...the first is about how in our science and STEM labs we use metric measurement whenever possible and we have a very honest discussion about using metric...what are they really concerned about? why do they think we don't use it more? Is there a 'better' system? Then we practice, we have fun. Fun is hugely important.

The other thing I do is tell my 2nd graders the story of the Smoot. Oliver Smoot was an MIT undergrad student who became the unit of measurement for the Mass. Ave. bridge. There is a plaque you can visit and everything. This funny story introduces non-standard measurement for the kids and I challenge them to go home and create their best 'hack' of the system too. Read a version of it here: http://web.mit.edu/spotlight/smoot-salute/!

Kathy Renfrew 36998 Points

Caryn and other posters,

Thanks for sharing. I am going to 'hack' into Smoot myself.
I have a resource to share that may well end up being a topic thread itself but I think this is where it should start. The resource is the Inquiry Project which looks at the concept of matter using measurement as the basis of

Research

The Inquiry Project seeks to understand how elementary school students make headway in their understanding about matter and physical quantities — especially material, weight, volume, length, area, and density. Learn more »

Curriculum

For each grade (3-5), there is a nine-week contextualized series of investigations about the properties of matter, focusing on measurement and representation of weight, volume, and density. Learn more »

Assessment

Formative assessment is central to the Inquiry project, informing teachers, curriculum development, researchers, and children about the development of their scientific ideas. Learn more »

Professional Development for Teachers

Teachers learn in a community of scientists, psychologists, and other teachers how to engage students in deep scientific inquiry using discussion and embedded formative assessment. Learn more »

Inquiry Project

I would love to hear what others think of this resource.

Kathy

PS A little aside..a school in Vermont is participating inthis project. and I was lucky enough to have attended a day long Professional Development Institute offered by NSTA at last year's national by the creators of this project. WOW!!

Carolyn Mohr 90868 Points

There are some excellent resources on measuring at another discussion thread: Physical Science - Measurements Inquiry Activity, too. I thought I would link it here in case anyone interested in additional resources wants to check it out.

Caryn Meirs 26235 Points

Thank you Carolyn for the cross link. I wonder sometimes if there is a way to merge discussions as new threads pop up....

Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Hi Everyone! I've been following some threads on dinosaurs and on living/nonliving classifications for early elementary years. As a consequence, I found a neat Learning Center Resource on measurement, scale, and dinosaurs and wanted to share it here. Science Sampler: Metric-asaurus—Conceptualizing scale using dinosaur models By: Lisa Gloyna, Sandra West, Patti Martin, and Sandra Browning Has any elementary classroom teacher viewed or used this resource? ~patty

#### Attachments

Caryn Meirs 26235 Points

Hi to all on this thread - I don't know if anyone here is also on the general science listserv but there has been a great series of posts about metric measurement recently. The last post was from Michelle Austin - who posted this amazing activity: Last year all the science teachers in our middle school chose a country and had a themed measuring activity. We made the kids passports and we had welcome to 'Country' signs outside our classes. The kids traveled from science class to science class measuring and calculating. For example we had canned and dry goods that represented countries. (Refried beans, boxed fried rice, pasta) The kids measured the dimensions of the box, can etc. calculated the approximate volume using formulas, they measures the mass and calculated the approximate densities of the of the food items. The kids brought in the food items and when we were done we donated them to the local food pantry. 'Scotland' had a golf ball based activity. 'Iceland' had a challenging calculate the density of ice activity. The kids really enjoyed it. [/color] Cool, right?!

Laura Chapman 875 Points

Adah- I really liked the articles that you posted. The article "How Much Popcorn will our Classroom Hold?" is really cute and something that could easily be used in any classroom. Great article!!

Kimberly Olson 495 Points

Hello,
I am am currently going in a education program and I recently created a unit based on measurement.In one of my lessons I used a trade book that one of my teachers suggested titled How Tall, How Short, How Faraway?by David Adler. It is a great introduction to measurement by mentioning various types of measurement including ancient egyptian measurement.

Kim

Sherrilyn Sampaia 550 Points

I found this topic to be interesting. It is a great way to integrate science, math and inquiry. Measurement can be used in every grade level. In my kindergarted student teaching, we had the students use string to measure their bean plants. They then compared thier strings to see which is longer and which is shorter and what happened to the string as the plant grew.

Sherrilyn Sampaia 550 Points

I found this topic to be interesting. It is a great way to integrate science, math and inquiry. Measurement can be used in every grade level. In my kindergarted student teaching, we had the students use string to measure their bean plants. They then compared thier strings to see which is longer and which is shorter and what happened to the string as the plant grew.

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