Measurement Lab: Observing Beets
In this observation lab students are introduced to basic measuring tools: metric ruler, metric tape measure, balance scale and gram weights. The example lesson is drawn from a second grade class who have been presented with fresh beets to observe. However, this lesson can be done at any grade level using any type of engaging object that has measurable variability within a shared unity of appearance or form, such as apples, clam shells, corncobs, feathers, hot wheel cars, keys, leaves, lemons, nuts, seeds, pumpkins, rocks, worms, and so on. The lesson objects should be close to the same size. There should be one object for each child.
OBJECTIVES: Students will review using their senses to make observations. They will practice using measuring tools and saying and recording metric units of measure. This lesson meets these standards for Grade 2.
CCSS.Math.Content.2.MD.A.1 Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
CCSS.Math.Content.2.MD.A.4 Measure to determine how much longer one object is than another, expressing the length difference in terms of a standard length unit.
CCSS.Math.Content.2.MD.D.10 Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems1 using information presented in a bar graph.
2 PS-1-1 Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties. [Clarification Statement: Observations could include color, texture, hardness, and flexibility. Patterns could include the similar properties that different materials share.]
At stations around the room have set up a sensory observation table with hand lenses, a weigh station with scales and gram weights, a length stations with rulers, and a circumference table with tape measures. Have one large table where the objects can be laid out to form a physical graph on graph paper.
WOW: Place chosen objects in front of the children and ask them to observe using the sensory observation lab procedure – first using their eyes, then their other senses. Elicit this observation by asking questions that draw on their memories of the sensory observation lab.
Ask: Which one is the biggest? How do we know? Introduce the measuring tools. Demonstrate how to use each one to get an accurate measurement.
Next ask each child to select an object and predict its size. Record their predictions.
Their task is to go to each center to observe and measure the object.
They are to record their results on their lab sheet. [Measurement Lab Sheet] After they have observed and measured their objects, they should place them on the graph paper from biggest to smallest.
COME TO A CONCLUSION
Discuss how they decided to order them. Did they use length, width, depth, mass, circumference or use a combination? Does it make a difference? How does using the tools help them decide where to place them? Make bar graphs using the different ways to measure.
Does the type of object affect how one measures it? Try measuring other objects.
Does it make a difference what unit of measurement is used? Try standard measures or make up your own units.
STEAM IT UP: INFUSE THE ARTS
Infuse the arts by showing students examples of scientists’ journals such as Nicky the Nature Detective and Journal of Inventions: Leonardo da Vinci and having children draw detailed illustrations of their object in their journals using regular and colored pencil.