Fun with Customary Measurement Conversions

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! Every unit is based on 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 the customary system 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 measurement because they don’t know the basic units 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.

Measurement Foldable Freebie 

One way to deal with the problem is to have kids take notes in foldables and store those foldables in notebooks. Keeping them in interactive notebooks ensures that the information is handy when they need it. Measurement foldables are especially effective, so I developed this Customary Measurement Foldable to share with you as a freebie.

To create the foldable, print the two pages back to back. Fold the page 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.

If you want to have them use the foldable in an interactive math notebook, you’ll only need to print out the page with the measurement terms.

To make sure it fits into any notebook, reduce the image to 85% of the original size when you print copies. Have your students fold them, cut the flaps, and glue the backs of the foldables into their journals.

Customary Measurement Conversions Pack

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 4th and 5th grade Common Core Standards. It’s called Customary Measurement Conversions, and it includes activities, math center games, word problems, measurement task cards, and assessments.

Field-tested and Kid-Approved

Some of the activities were ones I had previously developed for my classroom, like the matching game my students are playing in the photo below. Matching games are so simple, but they are really effective for helping kids memorize basic units of measurement. They’re also great to use in math centers and math stations because they can be played almost anywhere.

Unlike the matching games, Monster Math Mix-up was brand new and 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. Quite a few teachers agreed to do so, and I was thrilled to get a thumbs up from every single class.They LOVED the game!

I especially loved the feedback I received from Denise Bishop’s 4th graders. They provided WRITTEN feedback! 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 were 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 terrific feedback!

If you want to see the entire Customary Measurement Conversions Pack, click the image below to find it on TpT.

Thanks, Digital Classroom Clipart! 

This post wouldn’t be complete without me taking time to thank Digital Classroom Clipart for the amazing measurement clipart 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. 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!