Measurement for kids: Measuring length, distance, and heights, oh my!

Posted on Nov 30, 2020

So, you want to teach the kids all about comparing heights and widths? Well, we have your back. Our measuring lesson covers must-know concepts: standard vs. non-standard units, salamanders, measuring length and distance, and cows wearing funny hats. As we said, must-know concepts.

Before we get into the good stuff, let’s start from the beginning.

What is measurement?

Measurement is a way to find out the size of something. Or how much it weighs. Or how hot it is or how fast it’s moving. We can measure time, too, and height, and depth, and how far away something is from where you’re sitting right now.

Long story short, measurement is extremely useful and something that sees the all-mighty power of math pop up in day-to-day life.

In our measurement for kids video (at the bottom of this post), we focus on measuring length – that is, the distance between two points in space, the start of an object and the end of an object.

Quick snack break (measurement makes us hungry), and then let’s move on to standard vs. non-standard units.

Go on. You’ve got plenty of time to grab a bite to eat. Make a coffee if you need to.

Time’s up. Let’s keep going.

Standard vs. non-standard units

When we measure length, we use something called units. Units can be standard or non-standard.

  • You are familiar with standard units of measurement – think inches, centimeters, miles, and light-years.
  • Non-standard units include pretty much everything else – think scissors, your pointer finger, how long it takes you to say ‘ostrich,’ and our personal favorite, salamanders.

Now, before we can jump in and start lining up salamanders nose-to-tail, we have some extraordinarily critical information to share. Introducing: The Important Rules for Measuring Length in Straight Lines with Non-Standard Units.

The Rules of Measuring

The rules for measurement success.

Catchy title, we know. Without these rules, measurement for kids just won’t work. So, let’s break them down:

Rule 1: All units must be the same size and direction – no super-tiny salamanders, regardless of how cute they are.

Rule 2: All units should touch each other, but no overlapping.

Rule 3: Units must make a line – no salamander flowers.

Rule 4: Units must start at the beginning of an object being measured and finish at the end. You can’t measure the entire length of an object by starting in the middle.

If the kids feel good about our measuring lesson so far, we can put what they’ve learned into practice.

Let’s do some measuring

Enter: three cows wearing funny hats.

Our measurement for kids lesson may be factual, but we didn’t say it’d be sensible.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to find out which of our three cows – Blue Cow, Red Cow, or Yellow Cow – has the tallest hat. Watch the measurement lesson video now to play along because we’re about to spoil the mystery.

Here it goes. Blue Cow’s hat is two salamanders high. Red Cow’s is four salamanders high, and Yellow Cow’s is five salamanders high. Five is a bigger number than two and four, which means Yellow Cow has the tallest hat.

A comparison of Cows and their hats

Spoiler alert: Yellow cow has the tallest hat

Finally, comparing heights and widths. Let’s find out how wide the cows’ hats are by measuring from left to right.

This time, no spoilers. You’ll have to tune into the video below to find out. Who doesn’t love a good cliff-hanger?

Watch the measuring lesson now!

By the end, everyone will be able to use any non-standard unit – pencils, rulers, even their feet – to measure. So jump in and watch our measurement for kids explainer video now.



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