Metrics Activities and Resources

Metric Estimation Game
This is like The Price is Right. This is a fun idea and would surely help students understand the different metric units. You might want to adapt it for the Promethean board.

USMA Antoine Frame of Reference Method
Take a look at this page. It includes drawings of familiar objects equivalences to metrics measurements. Since this is somewhat limited, how about having the students create their own. They could either draw the objects or take digital pictures of objects. But the idea is for the students to have a frame of reference. A centimeter is about the width of your little finger.
Have you ever noticed women in the fabric shop holding fabric at arm's length to their nose? That length is about a yard. But if you turn your head the opposite way of your outstretched arm, you have a meter. These are approximations, of course, but are close estimates of an adult sized person.

One yard

One meter

Metric Response Cards
Here's a quick little assessment for you. Print these out on card stock for each of your students. As you ask questions about metrics your students hold up the card and pinch the correct answer on the response card. (These were made in a table in Pages. Each cell is 3 x 5. Four cards on a page. You'll probably want to make some with liters and grams)


Education City

There are several activities for metrics from grades 3 on up. Choose a grade level, then search by topics. Most grade levels show some activities under measurement, some even have them divided according to standard units and metrics units. You can also search the standards to find activities that match the standards. I think it is easier to search by topics.

Moon Mission v. 1
You'll find this one under 5th grade. This one matches your curriculum much better than v. 2. Students practice changing metric units in this one. Matches with Lesson 8-6 beautifully.

Moon Mission v. 2
You'll find this activity under 6th Grade Math. I mentioned earlier that students need a frame of reference. They also need to know a little about equivalents. Could you say that a kilometer is equivalent to a mile? Well, this activity is comparing standard units to metrics. The students are allowed to use a calculator. If you do this one, make sure you use the student handout that goes with this. They need some information on the handout to use with the activity. I'd suggest you look this over and then possibly use it for enrichment rather than the general population of the class.

Intel Metrics UBD
This site is an already made UBD on the metric system. Students create a powerpoint and a brochure; but they would use keynote in our case. Rubric and lesson plans are provided.

Language Arts Activity

Find idioms, hyperbole, similes, metaphors that use terms of standard measurement. Change the unit to a metric unit that is similar in size. For example: 'Give him an inch and he'll take a mile,' could be written as, 'Give him 3 centimeters and he'll take a kilometer!' Or 'He took it all - the whole nine yards' could be "He took it all - the whole 10 meters!' I can picture a little figurative language book with illustrations for their examples! They could show the literal meaning and the figurative meaning.
Makes me wonder what they do say in 'metric' speaking countries!

iPhoto Book (or Comic Life)

Students can take pictures of any and everything they have around their houses and garages that have metric units: speedometer on the car, 2 liter bottles, medicine bottles, tools, etc. Make an iphoto book of Metrics in Everyday Life.
Writing topics might be:
  • 3 facts about the history of metrics in the United States
  • why it is so difficult to change measurement systems
  • an informative page about the prefixes and how they help in converting from one unit to another
  • a statement or 2 describing each photo and the unit depicted
  • other ideas?

Social Studies Activity

Use Google Earth to find the Egyptian Pyramids. Use the ruler (click on the ruler icon) and measure the distance across the base of the pyramids. Once measured, you can change the units on Google Earth from miles to km, m, cm, in, yds, etc. Have the students record the distance in at least 3 different reasonable units. What are some other places that might be measurable? How long is the island of Crete? How wide is the island of Crete? How long is the Nile River?
Google Earth 5 is the latest version. I believe our students have version 4 so if you download the new one on your laptop expect to have a few differences. You might just want to keep both versions.