Building Off Measurement Misconceptions

May 29, 2016

Last school year, I had a few favorite lessons.  One that really sticks out for me in math class was this one:

You can click on the image for the original post.  I could.NOT.wait to do this lesson again this year!  But as we all two lessons are ever the same!

This year Jess and I decided to start our measurement unit out a bit differently.  We started with measurement mistakes or misconceptions.

We projected these task cards from Susan Jones and had a whole group discussion about what they thought went wrong with the measuring.  WOW!!  We were not sure how this was going to go because it was literally the opening lesson to measurement!!  But the students came up with great thinking for each of the images that we showed.  Then we tested out their new knowledge with some car (or carriage) ramps.  Jess and I even tried to measure using some of the incorrect examples, but we could not fool them!

To end our study of non-standard units, I was excited to create another town (just like the lesson above) for the students to "hop" into and measure distance.  Last year, we found that this lesson was a bit challenging for them.  Especially when it came to applying the knowledge:

But this year proved to be a bit different.  The actual measurement from one location to another was not a challenge.  They were able to problem solve over rivers and around grasslands.

What turned out differently was their desire to test out theories.  Jess and I asked them to find the shortest path from one location to the school (because you never want to be late to school!)  After one person would make a path, the other students would want to see if there really was a shorter route.  And in all cases...the first person always seemed to find the quickest route, even after lots of other attempts.

I felt like the town lesson was actually easier this year.  Could this be from the increase in constructive struggle that we added to our instruction this year?  Could it be from the misconception lesson that was built upon throughout the unit?  Or could it just be the group of students?

It is hard to determine one factor.  But I'll take it!


  1. I LOVE this!!! Starting with misconceptions and building on that was great. Thanks for an idea for next year!!!

  2. This looks like so much fun! I love to hear their thinking (like in the misconceptions); it amazes me the things they think of!


  3. I want to come watch this lesson in person. :)


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