Measuring With Non-Standard Units
Lesson Objective: Students measure length and width using pencil cases, shoes, and more
Grades 6-8 / Math / Precision


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Thought starters

  1. How does use of non-standard units engage students in the importance of accuracy and precision?
  2. What strategies does Mr. Dawes use to increase engagement?
  3. How could non-standard units be used to scaffold for students that are several grade levels behind?
I liked the lesson. I thought the teacher was able to trust the students and they were able to problem solve what they were going to use the measure the different areas. I liked the problem solving and discussion that the teacher had after the activity was completed. It was clear that he made the students think about what they were using and how accurate they were with their measurements. The teacher really lead the students in order to have them teach each other.
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I am not overly fond of this lesson. You must have a class of saints in order to have them pulling one another around the hallways. I am fond of his discussion after the students have measured using miscellaneous objects. They discuss why using different people's shoes would not be an accurate form of measurement. I agree with his statement that you must really trust your students to allow them to do something like this. This lesson may work better with juniors and seniors.
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need lots of "Tide" for that classroom (lol).. great lesson plan !
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Students enjoyed lesson - teacher allowed students to be creative - very engaging! Bright students!
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Interesting video. My first graders measure using paper clips and cubes. Will have to try letting them loose in the hallway.
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  • Summary

    An unusual and active lesson planning idea for teaching Key Stage 3 pupils about making accurate measurements, in this secondary


    An unusual and active lesson planning idea for teaching Key Stage 3 pupils about making accurate measurements, in this secondary mathematics resource.
    Math teacher Mark Dawes, at Comberton Village College, gets his Year 8 students to choose some non-standard units to measure things in and around their classroom.
    After measuring the height of the door in pencil cases, the width of the whiteboard in shoes and the length of the corridor in 'Bens', the class comes to some conclusions about the bounds of accuracy that can realistically be claimed for different units of measurement.
    Mark trusts his pupils to behave responsibly while they slide their classmates along the corridor to measure how long it is, and he feels this is a memorable and enjoyable lesson which tackles a difficult mathematical concept.


Teaching Practice

Project-based Learning, PBL, Projects, Engagement

Teaching Practice

All Grades/ All Subjects/ Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Culture

TCH Special

Grades 6-12, All Subjects, Civic Engagement


Lesson Planning


Professional Learning


Next Generation Science Standards