Have you ever thought about how arbitrary measurements are? I find it kind of interesting that we use systems of measurement every day but they’re really just standardized systems we made up! Of course, it makes sense to have a standardized system. I still remember the first time I realized that humans made up our measuring systems and the moment of awe that went with it. I expect to have the same moment with my kids soon enough as we cover measurement, both standard and nonstandard. So I had to make a thanksgiving measuring set to get started!
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How to Set Up the Thanksgiving Measuring Set
The idea behind this set is to measure using nonstandard methods as well as standard methods and then compare. I made some little Thanksgiving themed printable items to measure. I laminated these so they would withstand the force of measurement (to be fair, kids can get pretty excited when they get to use new tools like a measuring tape!).
The recording sheet is just on regular paper.
We used some linking blocks for the nonstandard measurement. You can use whatever you hand on hand – LEGO bricks, gems, finger length, etc. Be creative!
How to Use the Thanksgiving Measuring Set
First, we used the blocks for nonstandard measurement. These measurements should be different for everyone because the measurement is nonstandard! To really illustrate this fact, you could even use multiple forms of nonstandard measurement.
Once you have your nonstandard, go ahead and use a ruler or measuring tape to find the inches and centimeters for the items! Then compare. You can explain that everyone who measures these items should get the same number for inches and centimeters, but the answer for the blocks will be different! That’s why it’s important to have standardized measurements!
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