Measurement Activities and Games

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Measurements are important in so many daily activities. Give students a variety of practice opportunities so they learn accuracy.


Gather a variety of containers of different shapes and sizes. Let students rank each container from smallest amount to largest amount. Then fill the largest container, pour it into the next largest (be sure to do this over a basin to catch the overflow). Keep going until the smallest has been emptied. Were there any surprises?

Scavenger Hunt

Give each team a tape measure or ruler and send them on a search for items with different lengths. Make a list: Something red that is less than 6 inches long, something longer than 2 inches but shorter than 5, etc.

Optical Illusions

Let students draw lanes of equal length using different colors and widths. Does the line drawn with a crayon or a wide-tip marker look shorter than the line drawn with a sharp pencil? Discuss how clothing creates illusions, e.g. horizontal lines make a figure seem shorter.

Unconventional Measurements

Let students use a found object, such as a pencil, as a unit of measurement. Go outdoors and let students draw maps using “paces” to measure distances. Compare the paces to yardstick or meter stick measurements.

Measurements for Consumers

Let students think of items that are sold by weight. Why are some things sold by weight, some by length, and others by volume? Learn how lumber is sold by board-feet, fabric by yards, yarn by ounces or grams, sugar by the pound, etc. Get a size chart from a clothing catalog and let students use a tape measure to see what size shirt they should buy.

Get Extreme!

Give students an opportunity to look through a microscope, telescope, or binoculars. Talk about extremely long distances (measured in light-years) and extremely cold temperatures (absolute zero).

Measurement is something students should understand. It is concrete, easily demonstrated, and highly useful.

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