Third grade is the year of learning “all the things” in math! It seems as if the authors of math standards decided 8-year-olds need to know a little bit of this and a little bit of that – but not master any of it. Of course, the star of 3rd-grade math is multiplication. It’s the thing most students are excited about, and you will spend *a lot of time* on it. Eventually, you will reach the measurement unit and realize you have much more math to teach! Now what? This post is all about what your **3rd graders need to learn about measurement. ***Simplified for you.*

The Common Core Standards for measurement are divided into four categories:

- Solve problems involving measurement and estimation
- Represent and interpret data
- Geometric measurement: understand concepts of area and relate area to multiplication and addition
- Geometric measurement: recognize perimeter

As you can see, these categories are very different which is what makes this unit a little more difficult to plan.

## Solve Problems of Measurement and Estimation

### Intervals of Time

Third grade is when elapsed time is introduced. Understanding the passage of time is challenging for students. They have zero control over their own time, so it’s irrelevant to them! But, they do have to learn it.

Solving word problems of elapsed time is the main requirement here. How your students do that is with number line diagrams. These essential visual math models will significantly differ how fast your students master elapsed time!

In the post Teaching Elapsed Time – How You Can Help Your Students Master This Difficult Skill, I have a step-by-step example of how to calculate elapsed time using number lines.

### Liquid Measurement and Mass

Understanding how big a liter is or how small a gram is the basis of this standard. Students learn to choose what measurements and tools are appropriate for the task. For example, if I were filling a pool with water, would it be ounces or gallons of water?

They also are required to solve word problems requiring them to add, subtract, multiply or divide** **mass or volumes into the same units. Once students determine which function is needed, the rest isn’t that difficult. That’s why spending time on how much is a liter, a gram, or a gallon is essential.

## Represent and Interpret Data

### Picture and Bar Graphs

This standard adds to what students learned in 2nd grade. Now they must solve one and two-step word problems with the phrases: *how many more* or *how many less*. Once they understand that both mean comparing data sets and that subtraction will usually solve it – they will get it!

### Line Plots

Another standard that builds on their 2nd grade math. The only new learning for 3rd graders is that the measurement lengths now include fourths and halves of an inch.

The primary focus here is that students will need to learn and do linear measurements of objects to the nearest fourth and half-inch using standard rulers. Focus on the precision of measurement – this is where students get hung up and make mistakes.

## Geometric measurement: understand concepts of area and relate area to multiplication and addition

Measuring area is an entirely new math concept in 3rd grade. Students have to learn that area means the *inside* of a shape. I have found the easiest way to help my students by using a graphic like this one.

Your students will need a lot of practice measuring area using the formula length x width = area. They will need to calculate the area of regular and irregular shapes.

## Geometric measurement: understand concepts of area and relate area to multiplication and addition

The formula for perimeter is pretty easy to remember: side + side + side + side = perimeter. But, students have to remember the difference between the formula for perimeter and the one for the area.

Next, they will have to be able to solve for known and unknown side lengths. The unknown side lengths are definitely more challenging – but they will get it!

This Area and Perimeter Task Cards are an effective way for students to practice these two measurement concepts.

## Fun Resources That Can Help You Teach Measurement

How can you make this expansive content fun and engaging? Jeopardy games!

The Measurement Jeopardy Game includes questions for each of the four measurement categories which makes it the perfect review before a unit or state test!

If your students need more in-depth practice with Elapsed Time Jeopardy will give students more practice and review.

This Data Analysis Jeopardy game helps your students answer questions about all types of graphs!

I hope this post helps you zero in on what you need to teach in your measurement unit! Keeping it simple and focused on the important elements will make it easier for your students to master this diverse group of skills!

Robert John Meehan

The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.

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