When introducing different units of measurement to a class, why not add a multicultural twist to the lesson plan? This is a fun way to introduce the topic to the students and generate awareness and understanding of measurement units used in different areas of the world.
Image from Deserts
The goal is to highlight that although other cultures and countries use different words to describe measurement, they communicate the same ideas. In addition, it allows students to understand the relationship between units of measure to better comprehend stories and experiences from diverse cultures.
Introduce the lesson by choosing a book to read to the class that includes measurements. Choosing one that is multicultural and keeps the students engaged and interested is key. For example, Language Lizard’s Habitat series* would fit the bill. The three-book series explores some of the Earth’s most diverse biomes: Coral Reefs, Deserts, and Tropical Rainforests.
Remember that learning measurements can be challenging for all students, especially for English language learners. Therefore, teachers should utilize the students’ home languages as much as possible when introducing and exploring vocabulary associated with measurement. In addition, teachers should use tools to aid in understanding (i.e., ruler, measuring cup, yardstick, scale, thermometer, etc.)
Here are some interactive extension activities to make learning measurements fun and inclusive. (For the complete lesson plan about Measurements Around the World, and additional worksheets, click here.)
Have students bring in recipes from their families and cultures to share. Use the ingredient list to practice converting the measurements into different units of measure (i.e., metric to imperial). Finally, have the students create their own class cookbook featuring these recipes!
Image from Be Kind
Have students calculate the distance between their current residence or home country and another landmark of their choosing. Use a map to highlight the distances.
Ask students to measure 3-5 items at home that are representative of their family or culture. Then, have the student share the items and their measurements with the rest of the class.
Animals & Plants
Students can choose an animal or plant and describe the animal or plant using different units of measurement. This is a great way to introduce animals and plants that are native to different regions of the world.
Image from Tropical Rainforests
*Click here for the measurement conversions for the Habitat books.