Metric Measurement Activities for Your Science Classroom

Metric measurement ideas to explain mass, length and volume

In science, students must be taught how to measure using the metric system using meters, grams, and liters. In the United States, this can be confusing because up until middle school level, students are taught the standard system using inches, feet, cups, and pounds.

Now students are learning about meters, grams, and liters. In many aspects, this universal system used by scientists all over the world is easier to navigate. Once students can separate the two systems, they will learn that the metric system is devised on a base 10 unit. This allows us to work with decimals rather than fractions which I think we can all agree is MUCH easier.

Practice, practice, practice. This is the best way to orient students on this topic. Typically, this is how I teach students to use the centimeter ruler, Graduated cylinder, and triple beam balance. Included, you will find links to the Nearpods that I used with my students. You can access them using the links for free! (Let me know in the comments how you liked them!)

Centimeter Ruler: Students watch my teacher created Nearpod about the centimeter ruler. This lesson will introduce them to the ruler, how to determine which side of the ruler to use, how to measure and what unit to use when using it. Students complete practice sheets that allow them to practice using it correctly. This also allows them to physically use a centimeter ruler.

Graduated Cylinder: I start out this lesson with another teacher created Nearpod. Students enjoy how interactive Nearpod is. I love that I can move the screen so I know we are all on the same page. Included are videos that show students how to use one and how to read the meniscus. This is very important as most students have never heard of this term. Students will practice reading from worksheets and then use a graduated cylinder. I find it easier to fill beakers with water and some food coloring to make reading much easier for student's eyes.

Triple Beam Balance: I start this out the same as I did the other scientific instruments. Students learn the parts and how to measure using the triple beam balance through varied questioning, videos, and instructions from Nearpod. We practice from worksheets and then students practice measuring the mass of items. Students love being able to manipulate the riders on the beams and determining the mass of each object.

One of the perks of this unit is that it has to be hands on in order for students to truly learn how to measure the mass, length or volume of an object. Students love hands-on so it's a win.

Updated: I recently added this really fun, hands on station activity for my students. I call it the Metric Olympics. Students participate in seven different events to demonstrate their knowledge of mass, volume, and length. It uses everyday classroom materials for students to get up and moving as they practice measuring using the triple beam balance, graduated cylinder, and centimeter ruler. My kids really loved participating in the events. I loved watching them get excited as they tried to compete with one another in the different events.

Hands on activities to review length, mass, and volume with grade 5, 6, and 7 students.

Check out this graphic organizer that I developed and used with my students to help them review each term. This comes in handy to help study for a test or quiz. If you love it, be sure to comment below and let me know! :)

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    If you are looking for the specific worksheets that I use with my students, click below. It gives instructions on how to measure each instrument and practice problems. 

    Metric Measurement Worksheets and Activities to Use as an introduction or review

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    Freebie for teaching about mass, length and volume

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