Interactive Measurement Activities for 5th Grade

Measurement is a math skill that students continue to hone throughout elementary and middle school. By 5th grade, students are ready to measure longer distances, area, amounts, time and temperature. They may be learning to work with both US and metric units of measurement, and to compare different units of measurement. Hands-on practice will help students understand how and why measurement works.

  1. Measuring Length and Distance

    • Give each student or group a ruler, and challenge them to find objects in the classroom that are a given length in inches or centimeters. If you assign homework, have students do this activity at home and share examples the following day. To measure longer objects, have students use a yardstick or tape measure. Extend the measuring of length into calculating area, and explain to students that they can multiply the length of a surface times its width to figure this out.

    Measuring Time

    • Have students predict how many seconds it will take them to complete a particular task such as writing their names or walking a given distance. Use a stopwatch to check their predictions, and have students keep a record of how long it takes them to do particular things. Challenge the entire class to stay silent for one minute and note how it feels like a very long time. Compare these times to the world record for events such as the 100-yard dash or 100-meter sprint. You can also help students measure time by discussing Daylight Savings Time or European (military time conventions), or creating a classroom timeline of historical events related to an area of study.

    Measuring Amounts

    • One of the best ways to have students practice measuring amounts is by allowing them to cook. Many 5th graders can make simple cookie recipes with supervision and the practice reading and using measuring cups will help them to understand this area of measurement. Students can measure both liquid and dry ingredients, which of course leads to practice measuring volumes of liquid. Cooking is also a hands-on way to introduce students to fractions as well as to measuring temperature.

    Other Measurement Activities

    • 5th graders can complete a wide variety of measurement activities. They can measure temperature using a thermometer. They can weigh objects with a scale or balance and determine which objects are heavier and lighter and by how much. Students this age can measure angles with a protractor. You can even have them search the environment for particular angles. If you do this, 45- and 90-degree angles are the easiest to spot.

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