Archive for the 'measurement' Category

Resources for Teaching Fifth Grade Geometry

In fifth grade, students begin to identify, compare, and analyze the properties of geometric shapes. The Virginia Standards of Learning include topics such as angle classification, size comparison, transformations, lines of symmetry, two and three-dimensional figures, and the overall relationship between shapes. The text and web resources listed below will help you keep the students interested and engaged while also supporting instruction.

Text Resources


Grandfather Tang’s Story
written by Ann Tompert۬ and illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

Grandfather Tang tells a story about fox fairies from Chinese folklore who use geometry and magical powers to alternately change into predator and prey in a shape changing game. As he tells the story, he makes the animal shapes with tangrams. The illustrations have an oriental brushwork appearance and include both the animal and the tangram representation of the animal so students can create the changes with their tangram sets.


The Warlord’s Puzzle
written by Virginia Pilegard۬ and illustrated by Nicolas Debon

In ancient China, an artist hopes to avoid punishment for breaking a beautiful blue tile into seven piece by suggesting that the Chinese warlord hold a contest to see if anyone can put it back together. A poor fisherman’s boy quietly plays with the geometric shapes and solves the tangram puzzle. A tangram template is provided making this useful in introducing geometric concepts.


A Cloak for the Dreamer
written by Aileen Friedman ۬and illustrated by Kim Howard

A tailor asks his three sons to make colorful cloaks from small pieces of cloth sewn together. The older sons use square and triangular pieces and make fine cloaks. But the youngest son chooses circles and his cloak will not keep out the wind. The father uses geometry to solve the problem cleverly. This story fits with a unit on tessellations or a unit on shapes within shapes.


Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland: A Math Adventure
written by Cindy Neuschwander and illustrated by Wayne Geehan

Radius, the son of Sir Cumference and Lady Di of Ameter, ventures on a heroic quest to earn his knighthood. He first proves his ability to make a “knightly right angle,” as Sir D’Grees has trained him, and then doubles the right angle to make a straight angle. So he is sent off with the family medallion, in the shape of a circle (cardboard medallion included), to rescue the missing King Lell. Falling bridges, a cryptic riddle, a crocodile-infested moat, and a winding labyrinth all must be mastered before finding the king and his twin dragons, known as “Pair of Lells.” Sir Cumference has something to offer a wide range of readers. Some will be too young to understand the math and the word puns but will enjoy the story of a knight rescuing a king. Others will puzzle over the math and how to use the protractor (medallion) to solve the riddle. This group will be helped by the somewhat primitively painted pictures, which give clues to these angled decisions and enhance the story of a brave knight on his quest.

What's Your Angle Pythagoras?
written by Julie Ellis and illustrated by Phyllis Hornung

Pythagoras always seems to be in trouble, but it’s only because he’s so curious. You never know where you’ll find him. He could be up in a tree with the birds, spying on workmen, or messing about with maps. He is deep into his latest adventure, and trouble, when he discovers a pattern that gets him on everyone’s good side.

Web Resources

  • PBS Kids has educational online games for all of their television programs including Sagwa the Siamese Cat! Sagwa Tangrams will be fun for the students and help them practice their shape relationships! There are five easy as well as five hard puzzles to choose from!
  • Cyber Chase is another great PBS Kids program dedicated to making learning fun. Their website is full of great online games and the math topics that correlate with each. In Point Out the View, each member of the Cybersquad is looking at a bunch of blocks from a different place in the room. The player must show what each person sees from their point of view. Because what you see depends on your point of view, different people looking at the same objects can see them differently!
  • MATHO is similar to an interactive BINGO game. Your gameboard is a MATHO board with shapes and angles on it. A problem appears below the gameboard in yellow. Solve the problem and look for the answer on your gameboard. If you find your answer, select it and hit Enter. If you do not find your answer, click on Enter and you will be given a new problem. When you answer correctly, a marker will color your square. You have Matho when you get 5 colored squares in a row. The game is timed, so choose quickly!
  • Banana Hunt!  Given a specific angle and a full circle, drag the monkey to that exact angle. If you select the correct angle given, then the monkey will find all of his bananas! For every degree off, the monkey will lose a banana. How many bananas can you find in ten searches? Angles are not labeled so this is practice for those who know their angles well!
  • Protractor Measures!  Slide and rotate the protractor by degrees to match it to the given angle. Use the protractor to measure the angle and enter the degree measurement to move on to the next problem. This is a very realistic activity.

Additional Resources

  • This site offers online timed quizzes for every topic in fifth grade geometry (check out the other grades and subjects too!). These quizzes are relevant, kid-friendly, and record a score for teacher use once completed. If a wrong answer is chosen, an explanation of the correct answer is provided! The students may also stop at any time by choosing “submit and finish.”
  • This site offers amazing interactive lessons! Working With Angles(16) and Slides and Flips(17) are most relevant to fifth grade geometry. The lessons start off with real-world examples and continue with narrated visual diagrams. Although it moves at a brisk pace, the student has the option of pausing or going back. During the lesson students are engaged with labeling, sorting, and shifting instruments. Students will have a lot of fun using a virtual protractor to measure angles. If one of my students were to miss a vital lesson, this would be my go-to place to give him/her a good foundation of knowledge.
  • Teach the students a few songs to help them remember their geometry terms! For only $2.99 you can order the CD of all 14 songs!

Teaching First Grade Math: Money

Teachers can use the following resources for students that are in the first grade who are learning about money with a total value up to 100 cents or less (Virginia Standards of Learning for 1.7 a & b).

Text Annotations:


 The Coin Counting Book written by Rozanne Lanczak Williams is a fun rhyming book for students to learn about counting money and it’s value.  The book introduces pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters as a way for students to do simple math with rhyme:

“Let’s count our five pennies just one more time. If we add five more pennies we’ll have…one dime.”

Actual size coins are spread out over the pages showing both front and back for student learning.  If the book says to count five pennies as an example, there are five pennies laid out on the page with a addition sign in between each coin to help with student visualization.  The book ends by showing a hand placing coins in a piggy bank making the statement: “If we save some of it- the rest we can spend!” 



Pigs will be Pigs, Fun with Math and Money written by Amy Axelrod and illustrated by Sharon McGinley-Nally is about a family of hungry pigs looking for money in their house so they can go to their favorite place to eat a snack.  This is a great book for introducing students in the first grade to money.  The pig family is hungry and realize they do not have enough money to go out to eat; so Mrs. Pig decides that everyone will “Hunt for Money!”.  The book describes where in the house and how much money everyone in the family finds while on the money hunt.  In the end, the Pigs have enough money to eat out and when they arrive home they find their house in a mess from their hunt.  Pigs will always be pigs.   



The book, 26 Letters and 99 Cents written by Tana Hoban provides photos of numbers from 1-30, counting by 5’s from 30-90 and 99.  Beside of each number there is a photo of coins that shows the value of the number when added.  The book can be shown to the whole class while identifying each coin and the value.  This would also be a great book for students to look at during the day as a center activity, etc.  The book shows students both the front and back of real American coins: pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters in their actual size.  This helps students to visualize the size and identification of each coin.



The book If You Made A Million written by David M. Schwartz and illustrated by Steven Kellogg is a book where students can really use their imagination.  Readers are given different scenarios with spending anything from one penny to purchase a peeble all the way up to one million dollars with the option of saving the money at the bank.  This would be a great way to ask students for ideas about what they would purchase with different amounts of money.  Schwartz gives differnet forms of measurement for various amounts of money.  For example, one hundred dollars in pennies stacked up would be equal to fifty feet or a million dollars in quarters would equal a whale’s weight.  This is a great book to help students realize that a paper bill is sometimes easier (and lighter) to carry around instead of coins.



The last text would be a great resource for students who are in need of a more challenging way to think about money and its uses.  Money Madness written by David A. Adler and illustrated by Edward Miller explains how money first originated and how money is now used to purchase different items from around the world.  The book starts off by asking:

“What’s all this money madness? People talk about money and work for it. They seem to always want more of it…”

The book gives examples of why people now use money to purchase a variety of items.  If people did not have money then they would have to make their own bread.  Adler explains at a child’s level how people first started to trade by introducing the word, barter.  An example that Adler used was when a person would trade an animal in exchange for berries. Even though the person receiving the berries might not want them he knew that someone else would want to trade the berries for something that he wanted or needed in return. The book explains how rocks were used as an early form of money and then replaced by metals (silver and gold).  The silver and gold pieces were made into coins but were at times difficult to carry if someone had a lot.  Paper money was then invented.  Adler explains how each country has it’s own form of money and that the value of the money can vary from place to place.  “You know with money you can buy things you want. With money you can buy things you need.”

Web Annotations:

Students can play the game Change It  for additional practice on adding up different coin values.  Teachers can create each game to specifically fit each students instructional level. 

GPB Kids has created a web-site for students to play a game where they are given nine different items that they need to buy.  Players are instructed to buy one of the nine items by dragging the correct coin(s) to the matching picture in the chart.  If the player is right then they can move on to the next problem; if not, they have the chance to try again.

Teachers can create different tutorials for students by selecting any combination of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters for practice.  For each category chosen, students are provided a picture of real money on the left side of the screen and need to select the correct value of the money from the right side of the screen.  If the student selects the correct amount of money they can move on to the next problem.  If an incorrect answer is chosen, then the student can try again.

HMH School Publishers created a great money practice tool for students.  For the activity, coins are lined up in decreasing value from largest to smallest.  Students need to count the value of the coins and type the correct amount of money in the blank provided.  Students then need to click on “check” to see if they have typed in the correct amount.  If so, the student will hear chimes, if an incorrect amount is typed in then the student will see a screen flash up that explains the amount is either greater or less than the answer that was entered.

Kid 20/20 has an activity, Coin Sort that students can play on-line.  Students are given 280 seconds to properly place different coins in the corresponding piggy bank.  Each piggy bank is labeled with either pennies, nickels or dimes on the side.  Students must click on each coin and drag it to the proper piggy bank.  If the coin is taken to the correct piggy bank then the coin will disappear and the value of the coin will be added to the amount already in the piggy bank.  Students can visually watch as the amount increases by either one, five or ten cents.

Additional Resources:

The United States Mint has a great web-site that teachers can use for various reasons.  The site contains ideas for lesson plans, coin programs which give detailed information about each coin and coin curricula.  Teachers can also use the site for class activities: game centers, web gadgets (worksheets), learning centers (ways to bring in different areas of the curriculum and financial literacy). 

Scholastic has a great web-site for teachers.  Teachers can download different activities from worksheets, foldables, mini-books, and even lesson plans.  Click on “Teachers Resources” and select lesson plans, printables or mini-books. Narrow each search by selecting 1st grade, math and then money from each category on the left hand side of the screen.  *This web-site requires a yearly paid subscription.*

Teaching Money Skills by Grade Level: First Grade is an article that teachers can read prior to teaching first grade students about money.  The article provides a review and instructional method for teaching a lesson or unit on money.  The article recommends that teachers use play/fake money with their students for a hands-on learning experience.  After the unit lesson on money, students should be prepared for second grade math: addition and subtraction of money. 

Teaching Economics With Children’s Literature: 26 Letters and 99 Cents


Introduction and Summary

26 Letters and 99 Cents is a great introductory book for students regarding money. It goes through multiple ways of making different amounts of cents, such as 6 cents (6 pennies, or 1 nickel and 1 penny).  Each example shows the number next to the examples, which show actual coins so students start understanding the coins’ values.  Examples go up to 99 cents. This is a great way to introduce the concept of money to students and help them understand its value.

Curriculum Connections

26 Letters and 99 Cents can be used to go with SOL K.7, where students begin to recognize that money is what people use to buy goods and is an important things to understand. This book is a good resource and can be used in teaching introduction to economics or even in mathematics.

Additional Resources

Scholastic had this great extension activity to do with the book once the students have read it. 

Here is a lesson plan called Number Cents where students get to work with real nickels and pennies like they saw in the book. 

Lastly, this is a lesson plan where the book can even be utilized while teaching second graders. 

General Information

Book:  26 Letters and 99 Cents

Author:  Tana Hoban

Illustrator:  none

Publisher: Mulberry Books

Publication Date: 1987

Pages: Grade Range: K-1

ISBN: 0-688=06361-6

Teaching Processing Skills with Children’s Literature: Cook-A-Doodle-Doo!



Cook-A-Doodle-Doo!, written by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel and illustrated by Janet Stevens, is a charming picture book about a hen who decides to make a strawberry shortcake.  She finds the recipe and some of her animal friends try to help.   The only problem is…her friends know nothing about cooking.  They try to bring her a flower instead of baking flour.  Iguana tries to measure the flour with a ruler and Turtle tries to beat the eggs with a bat.  Hen explains everything the animals need to know and the shortcake turns out beautifully.  Hen teaches about measuring properly with the right tools and following directions.

 The side notes on several pages show measuring equivalents such as 1 stick butter=1 cup=8 tablespoons.  It explains the use of dry measuring cups versus liquid measuring cups and other cooking terms. The recipe is written on the last page for readers to try at home.

 Curriculum Connections

This book can be used to introduce students to proper measuring techniques and tools.  It also shows the importance of following directions or working in sequence.  This book is funny and can be enjoyed by any elementary student.  Teachers can use the book before going over the rules or directions for a science experiment.  Students can practice measuring the ingredients like the animals did or even try the whole recipe.  This book would also be useful in math while teaching fractions and measurement conversions.  Teachers can use this book as an introduction to any of the elementary scientific investigation, reasoning, and logic skills.

Additional Resources

 For more ideas on teaching processing skills, read the first edition of Science in School.

For ways to encourage the teaching of  science processing skills at home, try this handbook written for parents.

Use recipes for a valuable math lesson.

See the Susan Stevens Crummel website for more ways to use this book in the classroom.

General Information

Book:  Cook-Doodle-Do!
Author:  Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Illustrator:  Janet Stevens
Publisher:  Harcourt Brace & Company
Publication Date:  1999
Pages:  46
Grade Range:  K-5
ISBN:  0-15-201924-3


Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Millions to Measure


Millions to Measure, written by David M. Schwartz and illustrated by Steven Kellogg, is an interactive picture book that is sure to keep the attention of school-aged children as they go on a journey toward understanding measurment.

Summary: In this book, Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician takes four children on a journey to see how people measured many years ago and how measurement has evolved over time. The ways that people measured distance, size, weight, and volume were inefficient because there was not a constant source of measurement that could be applied to all people and things around the world. Eventually, standards of measurement were created so that everything could be measured using the same source of measurement. Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician introduces the way that people measure length, distance, weight and volume, as well as the differences between the metric system and standard English system.

“Many people believe that the United States will eventually join the rest of the world and measure only in the metric system. But you don’t have to wait until then, because you already know how!”

The usage and understanding of the metric system is promoted in this book, which is beneficial as the entire world becomes more scientifically and mathematically driven.

Curriculum Connections: This would be a great book for grade two studying SOL 2.1: Scientific Investigation, Reasoning, and Logic. Within this SOL students should understand the usage and terminology of both the metric and standard systems of measurement. This book could be used as an introduction to a lesson involving the observation and investigation of various items using the two systems of measurement. This will allow practice with the terminology and sources of measurement that will be used throughout the year during scientific activities and experiments.

 Additional Resources:

  • Create a Measuring Lab where you create separate areas for students to measure items for Distance, Weight, and Volume. Students can work in teams of two: one can measure and the other can record the measurement.

  • This worksheet asks students to record the temperature shown in the drawing of a given thermometer. They then are to draw a red line at a temperature of their choice and draw something that they would do at this temperature.

  • Interactive bulletin board idea: students are to find items that are one inch in length to be displayed on a bulletin board; the board will also display a question of the day and prize can be given to those students who answer correctly. There is also a corresponding worksheet for students to measure seven of their favorite items in their rooms.

  • This worksheet is based on the book Millions to Measure and allows students to use their own innovative source of measurement to measure various items. They are then asked how they would measure other various items using the units of measurement.

General Information:

Book: Millions to Measure

Author: David M. Schwartz

Illustrator: Steven Kellogg

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: 2003

Pages: 40

Grade Range: K-3 (ages 4-8)

ISBN: 0688129161

Measurement Podcast – Counting on Frank


In this podcast, Kelsey Rdzanek introduces listeners to the book Counting on Frank, written and illustrated by Rod Clement.

I selected Counting on Frank because it was very creative and included amazing facts that I thought kids would be interested in. For example, how many blue whales would fit into a house and how long a line a pen could draw until it ran out of ink. This book can be used for teaching about measurement and ratios, as well as topics like addition or subtraction.

Related Books
Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

More Information
Look at this sample performance assessment where students read Counting on Frank and then wrote a letter to the author commenting on at least one example of the mathematical claims made.
Try this NCTM lesson on volume that is based on the book.
Here is a series of lessons on estimation that are based on the book.
Here is a short video introduction to Counting on Frank. It also includes a handout on estimation.

Measurement Podcast – How Big is a Foot?


In this podcast, Megan Ney introduces listeners to the book How Big is a Foot?, written and illustrated by Rolf Myller.

How big is a foot? This is a good question, and an important one. When a King wants to have a bed built for his Queen, he proceeds to walk around her and gives the measurements in feet. However, when the apprentice uses foot measurements to build the bed, things don’t turn out as everyone would have hoped. Thrown into jail for making a bed that is too small, the apprentice must solve the puzzling question of why his bed didn’t measure up.

Related Books
Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy
Twelve Snails to One Lizard: A Tale of Mischief and Measurement by Susan Hightower

More Information
Try this lesson using the book that includes a reader’s theater script.
NCTM also has a measurement lesson based on the book.
Follow this outline for a computer (Excel) graphing lesson based on the book.
Here’s a great chapter of information on nonstandard measurement.

Measurement Podcast – Once Upon a Dime


In this podcast, Cory Widdowson introduces listeners to the book Once Upon a Dime: A Math Adventure, written by Nancy Kelly Allen and illustrated by Adam Doyle.

Follow Farmer Truman Worth, a young boy and their animal friends Lewis and Cluck, and Grover Clevelamb in an exciting story about a tree that actually grows money! Truman and the boy use different organic fertilizers on the tree, each of which cause the tree to grow different kinds of money. If only they could find out which fertilizer grew the most money€¦

Related Books
The Coin Counting Book by Rozanne Lanczak Williams

More Information
Try this economics lesson that is based on the book.
The author has some class activities for the book on her web site.
Try a word search puzzle based on the book.
Here is an activity guide for use with The Coin Counting Book.

Measurement Podcast – Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday


In this podcast, Kristin Coffee introduces listeners to the book Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz.

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday incorporates math facts into a traditional children's book format. Judith Viorst writes in the voice of Alexander, a boy who, after receiving a dollar from his grandparents, tries to save up for a set of walkie talkies but ends up spending his dollar over the course of several days. By the end of the week, Alexander is left with only bus tokens, but readers have been provided with many opportunities to practice their math skills through reading about his adventures.

Related Books
The Berenstain Bears' Trouble with Money by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Story of Money, written by Betsy Maestro and illustrated by Giulio Maestro

More Information
You can visit the official site for the Berenstain Bears.
You can read an interview with the Judith Viorst.
Visit this site for kids about the history of money.
Try this economics lesson that is based on the book.
Try this problem-solving lesson based on the book.
Try this lesson on opportunity cost based on the book.
Young Investor has a web site for kids on saving money.

Measurement Podcast – A Second is a Hiccup


In this podcast, Jamie Malone introduces listeners to the book A Second is a Hiccup: A Child’s Book of Time, written by Hazel Hutchins and illustrated by Kady Macdonald Denton.

A Second is a Hiccup explains the differences between units of time, such as a second, minute, hour, day, week, month, and year. By using day to day activities, which are common and easy for students to understand, Hutchins does a wonderful job of introducing and teaching students about different units of time.

Related Books
It’s About Time! by Stuart Murphy
Just a Minute by Bonny Becker

More Information
Experiment with elapsed time at this interactive web site.
Visit this site where kids can practice telling time.
Check out this thematic book list on telling time.