CLARK, NJ - Fifth graders at Valley Road School practiced their measuring skills this week in Sharon Fisher’s fifth grade class. The students learned about natural measurements and how they can use their bodies in place of standard measuring tools, like the ruler.
The fifth graders discovered that standard measurements were not used in ancient times. Instead most people measured using lengths of their bodies such as cubits, fathoms and spans. In the first part of the activity, the students measured the lengths of their arms, hands, fingers, and arm spans with the help of a partner. After they knew what each body part represented in length they were able to practice measuring various objects around the classroom without any form of standard measurement.
After all of the students practiced their measuring, the class discussed the different lengths that they had found. The fifth graders soon concluded that natural measures can be used to find different lengths but they will not be as accurate as using standard forms of measurement.
“This activity allowed the students to explore a previously learned concept in a new way. They enjoyed discussing the differences between measurements and coming to their own conclusions,” Fisher said.