Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Customary Measurement: Weight Edition

We started our month long unit on measurement today. It's one of my 'lesser favorite' topics that we cover in the 4th grade curriculum. I can understand students needing to have a concept of an inch vs. a yard, an ounce vs. a pound, etc... I can NOT understand a 4th grade student needing to be able to convert grams to ounces (unless we plan on them all being future drug dealers?), pints to milliliters, and other RIDICULOUSness they have to learn. Thankfully, it's mostly just memorization and not a lot of processing, so it can be a relatively easy topic (a LOT better than fractions, that's for sure!), but it's still not super fun. Until today...

Day one of the unit we did Customary Weight measurements (ounces, pounds, and tons). I spent a few minutes explaining and providing examples of each of the different weights. A key weighs about an ounce. 5 quarters weighs about an ounce. A peach weighs about 7 ounces. A water bottle weighs about a pound. A loaf of bread weighs about a pound. A stuffed panda bear weighs about a pound. A giraffe weighs about a ton. A car weighs about a ton. (I know you're all SO jealous of my job right now....!) And then it was their turn. I had them take 30 seconds to talk to their neighbor and find or think of something to represent each of the weight measurements. When the timer went off, we went around and started sharing. It was all going well until one of my beloved little tykes held up a pencil and said, "This is about an ounce." Then she held up a textbook and said, "This is about a pound." Then, she said, "Ms. Wacek, come over here. You weigh about a ton." Looks like I'll be going to the gym double time from now on! I DID just get done explaining that dump trucks and elephants are measured in tons, didn't I??

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