Teaching Measurement
So your child will Understand it!

Measurement is not an easy task for students to understand. As a result teaching measurement is neither easy nor straightforward.

Measurement, like any other area of math, is not simply the knowledge of measurement facts. Printing charts such as a liquid measurement chart is not helping your child understand measurement. It is simly giving them the answer - these aids should be retained for when they understand the concepts of measurement fully.  Then they are wonderful additions to their math fact folders!

Start with the concepts

The concepts of measurement are already familiar to your child.  They really are very aware of these, even if they (or you) haven't linked them to a math skill.  The best way to teach them about measurement, is to continue talking to them about it .... ALL the time! And be sure to include the correct 'language' while you are doing this, mentioning both what your are measuring, the units of measurement and the tools you use to get your results.

Type of Measurement

Things to Consider


  • In our digital world of online banking, many of us use cash a lot, but this is doing a disservice to your child.
  • Be sure to use cash.
  • Talk about how many pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters are in a dollar.
  • Show your child money amounts in print in the store, so they become familiar with the dollar and cent sign.

Linear Measurement

  • Once the concept of measuring distance is understood by your kid, have them measure different objects.  (My daughters favorite thing to measure is us!). 
  • Give them measuring instruments such as a measuring tape, a foot ruler, a yard stick (if you have one). Preferably in both inches and centimeters!
  • Talk to them about how they could measure one door way and get two different answers!  It's the units used - perhaps one was millimeters and the other centimeters!


  • They are very aware of whether they feel hot or cold.
  • They know the refrigerator is cold, and the cooker is hot.
  • They know that in between the two is warm!
  • They know when they run a temperature, you use a thermometer to measure how high it is.
  • Give them a thermometer and cups of water of different temperatures to measure.
  • Give them a thermometer with both Celsius and Fahrenheit (ºC to ºF) gauges, and talk about the different units.
  • Show them recipes that show cooking temperatures in both units.

Teaching measurement of this kind, is probably one of the easiest!


  • Allow them to weigh objects at home.
  • If you have a kitchen scales, allow them to mess with the button that changes units from Pounds and ounces to Kilograms and grams.
  • Allow them to weigh produce at the store, and show how the price of the food correlates to the weight of it.
  • Talk about how things feel heavy or light, and try to estimate the weight of items.


  • Again, use cooking recipes for this.  You can measure cups, fluid ounces, liters, pints, quarts, gallons - a whole host of measuring tools, measuring vocabulary, unites of capacity.
  • Try showing what the same amount of water looks like in two different shaped glasses.
  • Calculate how much juice could fit in a juice box, and how much is actually in it!


  • Time has become so familiar to us as adults, we forget it is in fact a measurement tool (except of course when it's home time from work!)
  • Talk to your kids about the days of the week, months of the year, seasons, time of day, orientation of time such as today, tomorrow and yesterday.
  • Talk about Hours, minutes and seconds!
  • If you don't already have one at home, purchase an analogue clock!  Reading time presented like this is a skill they must develop.
  • Talk about the 60 seconds to the minute, and 60 minutes to the hour and 24 hours to a day!
  • When they ask you the time, be sure to ad on the all important AM or PM, noon and night.
  • Give a calendar to your child, and have them fill in the details of events to come.


  • This could be one of the trickier ones to deal with at home (unless you live in a very rural area, where many conversations are held about acreage)
  • Start with square grids - print a large grid on a piece of clear plastic suitable for a computer printer.
  • Have your children use this to 'measure' different cut out shapes.
  • Move on to a grid with specific unit (have a few different units available)
  • Once they are familiar with the concept of area being the 'inside' of a perimeter, have them actually measure flat objects around the house - and calculate the area.

Introduction to the Units of Measurement.

This is only done after a firm grasp of the concept of measurement is achieved.  The introduction to units of measurement in the school system is done slowly and through a spiral format.  This insures kids aren't totally confused with too many units at the same time.

What and when to introduce is outlined in great detail in the Grade Level Skills booklet I have put together for your use.  Print and enjoy it.

This information is simply a few ideas for you when it comes to teaching measurement to your kids.  To know all the information they must achieve by 6th Grade (the end of elementary math) please follow the links to each type of measurement, on the left.

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