Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Measurement Fair!

Not too long ago, I mentioned my Stuffed Animal Measurement Fair as a favorite math activity. The last time I did this activity, I had NO HELP and I tried to take pictures but seriously NO PARENTS and NO TEAM TEACHERS and JUST LITTLE OL' ME.... I was up to my elbows in toothpicks and grid paper, and spring scales and rulers, and stuffed animals that sing when you press their belly. Long story short... No pictures.

This time around I managed to square away 2 parents who came to help run the most needy stations so I could circulate the room, take pictures, and put out small forest fires. I took 64,356 pictures. And I LOVE them ALL so here they are!

I'm going to divide them up by measurement station. Of which there were seven. Here we go!

#1 - Area
I actually didn't have students rotate through this station. It takes a bit longer (live and learn from last year) so before we started I called kids back to my table one at a time to trace their animal on the grid paper. Then I gave it back to them at the end of the rotations to count and label the area of their animal. It really helped them calm down from the excitement of the activity and refocus on the purpose of the lesson. Which we learned was NOT to stab the stuffed animal you BORROWED from ME because you FORGOT your own with toothpicks.

My little assistant.

We recently finished a Froggy (Jonathan London) author study unit. This friend asked to adopt Froggy for the Measurement Fair.

Of course my assistant took care of the area measurements for Flappy, our class mascot.

#2 Length
Students used rulers and yardsticks to measure the length of their animal in inches.

This student borrowed my cat stuffie for the day and promptly named him "Mr. Whiskers."
This cat has no whiskers....
I died.

#3  Perimeter

Because learning to measure using non-standard units is important too, we measured the perimeter of our animals by making a "fence" of toothpicks around the animal.

Mr. Whiskers again.

This student is measuring perimeter on top of the student recording sheet included in the resource.

Here you can see that at each station, students are also asked to record their measurement on a class roster. This makes it super simple later on to pick your winners for each category.

#4 - Time
In all honesty... This one is a stretch... At the time station, students use a timer to measure how long it takes their umm animal to say the ABCs. Yeaaaaaaahhhhhh.

See that HUGE bear in the background? He was brought in by a student who must have had cotton in her ears all week because I clearly stated EVERY day as I was reminding students of this event that the animal MUST BE ABLE TO FIT IN YOUR BACKPACK.... She brought him in a garbage bag.

#5 - Volume
For this station I created a set of volume dice students roll for a unit of liquid capacity (cups, pints, quarts, etc.). Then they use a sentence frame to tell the amount and kind of beverage their animal enjoys. I put colored pencils at the station so students could draw a picture on the back of their recording sheet of their animal enjoying said beverage.

#6 - Weight

Thankfully I finally located a few spring scales in my school's math resource room for this center. I also borrowed my parents' luggage scale too for the heavier animals. If you don't have access to a spring scale, there are a few other options for weight in the measurement pack.

My assistant. Again. Loving the paparazzi. The stuffed animal is in the grocery bag. Thank GOD for a parent volunteer at this center....

...because I would not have been able to maintain my composure as the luggage scale was hung around the neck of this orangutan like a noose.

The picture isn't great. I think it was something like 1.7 pounds.

#7 - Width
Lastly, students used flexible measuring tapes to measure around the middle of their stuffed animal in centimeters. As in the belly. Like a belt. Like they do at Weight Watcher's meetings. OK. I've never been to a Weight Watcher's meeting.

Here you can see that I used paper box lids at each center to collect all the materials and directions kids would need.

Time to go on a diet, Teddy.

 Believe it or not, she stuffed this thing into her backpack...
She carried her library books, change of shoes for P.E. and snack in her hands of course.


Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd everyone's favorite part is passing out the awards at the end! Smile!

The skinniest animal was the pig. The irony was not lost on me.

Also, the fastest ABC recitation went to a turtle. The kids' MINDS were BLOWN by this.

This was the heaviest animal. Strange I know. There was some mechanical craziness going on inside that cat that made it weigh like 3 pounds.

My little assistant won an award too but had an early dismissal and missed her photo op...


  1. I love this! Thanks for sharing. I hope to do this with my students next year.

  2. This is a great idea! I can't wait to try it out with the measurement unit next year. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. I'm embarking on my "first annual" (because you have to have it once before you can say you've done it annually, dems the rulz) Measurement Fair this Wednesday! I will heed your advice on calling kids back for the area and using it as a calm down time at the end. When do I get to see the other 64,313 pictures? (Yep, #Mathwizard)
    The Meek Moose

  4. I just love this. Your post really made me laugh - and it looked great fun and great learning at the same time.