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Science Activities in Metric Measurement

    Mass Lab

    • This project requires various items such as paper clips, coins, marbles, washers and rocks plus enough scales or triple-beam balances for several groups. Explain the units of mass in the metric system to your students (grams, kilograms, etc.) and split them into groups. Have them estimate how many grams certain items or combinations of items weigh. Make it a game, with the group that gets the closest estimates winning prizes.

    Body Rulers

    • Have each student create a chart called a body ruler that essentially turns a body into a measuring device. The students mark down measurements of their bodies in metric terms: their height; the length of their hands, arms and feet; and their mass. Using these standards, they can estimate the length and mass of various objects in the room in the metric system. For instance, they can see that the length of a book is twice the length of their hands, which they now know. They can check their estimates with a tape measure.

    Mini Metric Olympics

    • Dividing your classroom into teams and creating a game out of your metric activity will help students solidify the concepts. Create various stations around the room, each with a challenging metric activity for the teams to participate in: the Paper Plate Discus, the Cotton Ball Shot Put and the Right-Handed Marble Grab, for example. Rules to these various games can be found on the University of Arkansas web site (Reference 3). Students will enjoy themselves and learn about the metric system in the process.


    • Create a list of real-life comparisons for your students and help them to generate as many additional comparisons as they can. For example, 8 kilometers equals about 5 miles and 1 gram equals the mass of a jellybean. Go through a list of easy ways to think about the metric system and have them create comparisons for volume, length and mass. If each student creates an accurate chart for comparisons, this will generate a large number of examples that your students can use and that you can use for future classes.

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