Juan, Sarah and Laura are building sand castles. But which one's tallest? Juan's is only two shovels high, while Sarah's is three. Laura's moat is one big spoon deep, while Juan's is two little spoons deep. Too bad their shovels and spoons aren't the same size. But "an inch is always an inch," says Larry the Lifeguard, using a tape measure to determine the winners.
Children learn that it is helpful to use standard units of measure to make accurate comparisons.
Illustrated by Julia Gorton.
Ask questions throughout the story, such as: "Do you think that using a shovel would be a good way to measure the tower of the castle? And "Is a spoon a good way to measure the depth of the moat?" Explain that these tools can be used for measuring, but that tools of the same length must be used consistently.
Pick distances around the house or classroom and measure them with your child (or class) using "baby steps" and "giant steps." Is the hallway more baby steps or giant steps long? Are there more baby steps or giant steps between the couch and the computer?
Have your students take turns lying down on the floor and measuring each other from head to toe using straws, and then a ruler. Make a chart that shows the length of each child in terms of different units of measurement.