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Measurement Masterpiece


  • Mathematics
    -- Measurement


  • K-2
  • 3-5

Brief Description

This lesson combines teaching of measurement and estimation skills with an imaginative hands-on art project.


  • estimate length to the nearest inch (1/2 or 1/4 inch for older students)
  • measure length to the nearest inch (1/2 or 1/4 inch for older students)
  • use their imaginations to turn colored paper strips into art of a common object.


measure, inch, art, creative, imagination, ruler

Materials Needed

  • rulers (one per student)
  • pre-cut colored construction paper strips cut into a variety of precisely measured lengths from 1 to 12 inches (at least six strips of different lengths for each student)
  • white construction or copy paper, 8-1/2 x 11 inches (one sheet per student)
  • glue
  • markers or crayons

The Lesson

This lesson introduces students to the concept of measuring and estimating length to the nearest inch. It can be adapted for older students, who might measure to the nearest fraction of an inch.

Hold up a ruler and draw students' attention to the fact that numbers are on both sides of the ruler: one edge shows inches and the other shows centimeters. Make sure students are all focused on the edge marked from 0 (1) to 12 -- the "inches side" of the ruler.

Hold up a strip of pre-cut construction paper. Ask students to estimate how many inches long the strip is; they might use their rulers as a guide to estimating the length of the strip. Record students' responses, then show them how to measure the actual length of the strip. How accurate were students' estimates?

Next, introduce the activity. Distribute strips of colored construction paper pre-cut in lengths varying from 1 to 12 inches. Give each student at least six strips. Each strip should be a precise length (for example, exactly 4 inches long or exactly 9 inches long). Have students put away their rulers and estimate the length of each strip; they can use black marker or crayon to mark their estimates on the strips.

Then have students check their estimates and write the actual measurement on the strip. How many estimates were exactly correct?

After all strips have been measured and labeled, provide each student with a sheet of white paper. Challenge students to use their imaginations as they use their paper strips to create an object. (For example, one student might use her or his strips to form a flower.) When students are done , they should glue their colored strips on the white paper to fix them in place.

Finally, have students total the number of inches of paper strips they used to create their objects, and give their artwork a title that includes the number of inches used. For example: My 35-Inch Flower.


Assess each Measurement Masterpiece by checking for accurate measurement and correct addition.

Submitted By

Laura Graham, Tri-City Christian School in Independence, Missouri

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