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Teacher: Imaan Murteza

School/Grade: Penn alexander School/Mrs. Kurlands 5th grade class

Number of Students: 4
Expected Observer(s): Ms. Connie Major (Penn Mentor)
Title of Lesson: What is the Metric System?
Date: November 21, 2014.
This lesson will be filmed for analysis.
Pedagogical Focus:
Using visual and physical representations to draw connections between the lesson and students
lives in order to make the math covered more meaningful. Also to draw connections between this
lesson and other mathematical concepts that the students have learned.
Common Core Standard: CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.MD.A.1 Convert among different-sized
standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m),
and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.
In this lesson the aim is for students to develop an understanding of the Metric system as
it relates to measurements of length (the meter and its derivatives). Through a constructed
exercise of real life exploration, I hope to reinforce the idea that there are multiple ways to
achieve a certain result, in this case a linear measurement. However, when attempting to
communicate ones findings, there is value in using a standardized system that the whole world
shares. Since the students would have just finished their school wide science fair event, I am
hopeful that this message will resonate with them. Another aspect I aim to highlight is the
convenience of the base-10 structure of the metric system and how that leads to a more uniform
relationship between the units as well as the ease of conversion. This is to be explored as the
Metric line is being created as I will ask students to convert quantities from one unit to another.
Students will also gain an understanding of the relationship between the different units of
measurement in the system and begin to develop fluency in converting values from one unit to
another. Since the students have been working throughout the year on their multiplicative
thinking, I anticipate their ability to perform these conversions mentally, or at the very least, with

minimal notation. They will also learn how to represent their numbers and units on a page
Vocabulary words to stress: the names of the units (focusing on m, cm, and mm), Metric System,
to convert from one unit to another and standardized.
These goals are to be accomplished by engaging students in several tasks throughout the
lesson, in pairs, whole-group and individually.
I anticipate students having difficulty in adjusting to the new words. Also, since their
math work so far has been devoid of any type of measurement (besides counting squares or
cubes) I predict that some students may have trouble adjusting to the process of measuring
objects with a ruler, or indeed attaching meaning to the cm mark that appears on their page.
Since this lesson is mostly focused on building an understanding of the metric system, it
will be discussion-based with a few practical problems that the students will be asked to solve
throughout the lesson and as a culminating activity. These practical problems will be tackled by
pairs of students while the rest of the lesson will be taught whole-group. After introducing the
concept of standardization through a story at the beginning of the lesson, the metric system will
be constructed on the board. The students will be asked to estimate then measure the lengths of
several different lengths (the hallway, the table, a pencil and a pushpin.)
The discussion will be mainly about the different measurements one might need as each
unit in the MS is revealed and discussed. The students will be given rulers to examine and
deduce the relationship between the units. I plan to represent the system from km to mm on chart
paper. The students will be asked to estimate then measure several different lengths (the hallway,
the table, a pencil and a pushpin.) The students will have clipboards, lined paper and a
worksheet in which they can record their findings. After discussing the relationship between the
units, the students will be asked to convert their measurements into different units.
The students will be familiar with the words cm and mm since they would have
covered them the previous week in a unit about volume.

This lesson would be the first step in working towards the goal outlined in the common
core standards. (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.MD.A.1) My other reason for selecting this topic
stems from a deep seated belief that students should be fluent in the measurement system used by
the rest of the world if they are to be productive citizens of it. I also believe that an understanding
of what the symbols mean will imprint upon the students the importance of noting their units
when they are recording measurements.
I have decided to approach the teaching of this lesson from a visual and practical
standpoint. I believe that if the students are not given a concrete representation of a meter for
instance, the unit will forever be an abstract concept in their minds, ungrounded in reality. This
could present problems later on in life when they attempt to estimate the size or length of
something in their daily life.
I also decided to split the group into pairs for the activity because I believe that working
in pairs will lead to a better conversation and discussion between the students, whereas a bigger
group may result in a child being kept out of the discussion. The idea is to hit two birds with one
stone: to impress upon the students the virtues of a standardized measurement system and to give
them a practical example of the size of a meter and cm.

Estimate then measure the length of an object using the standard units. Apply the understanding
of the meaning of the units in deciding which would work best in a given situation. Utilize the
relationship between units to convert measurements correctly.
The students will discuss in pairs during the activity the best way to go about measuring their
object. They will also be given a chance to talk to each other when trying to deduce the
relationship between the units. During these times I will act as facilitator to ensure that they are
on-task and complying with the norms we would have set up at the beginning of the class. For a

part of the lesson, where I will be introducing the students to the units they are unfamiliar with, I
will be the one doing most of the talking.
Students will have paper, worksheets to record their measurements, pencils, rulers, objects in the
room to aid in their exploration of measurement, and 3 strips of paper representing 1 dm in dm,
cm, and mm units. We will also use chart paper to record and present ideas to the whole group.
Normative Practices:
The students will be expected to follow the same rules implemented in their regular classroom
relating to respectful discussion, not calling out and active listening. I will try to use the same
norms the students have become accustomed to in their classroom:

Students will raise their hands to answer questions.

Students will actively listen when others are speaking, be it the teacher or a fellow

Students will respect one another at all times.

Classroom Management:
Since this lesson will take place in a new environment, the students may view this as an excuse
to act out. So, a revision of the classroom rules may be in order.
Goals for Students:

To develop an understanding of the metric system and how and when it can be used, as
well as an appreciation of the relationship between each unit.

To develop a sense of the units of the metric system and which unit is best for each type
of measurement in the real world. In a sense, to be able to apply what they have learned
about the units of the MS to real world measurements.

Goals for teacher:

To convey within the timeframe, the central concept of the Metric System
(standardization of measurements)

To draw connections between what students already know about linear measurement and
the Metric System.

To successfully gauge the level of student comprehension throughout the lesson and in a
culminating activity.

Lesson Plan Time (45 minutes)

Introducing Activity (hook) Time (max. 8 minutes)
To begin the lesson, read a short story, How Big is a Foot? by Rolf Myller. Time (5 min)
This will serve as an introduction to standardization of measurements.
T: Speak to the development of the Imperial system of measurement based on parts of the
human bodyholdover from Roman times. The metrication of the UK came about in the 1800s
upon their joining of the European union of the time.
Introduce the metric system, created by the French and based around the unit of the meter.
Believed to be more efficient. Lets find out why.
Begin constructing the metric line. Time (20 minutes)
Begin the line at the meter and construct the dm, cm, mm portion first. Students should be
encouraged to call out during this portion of the lesson if they think they know which units come
Give out rulers and ask students to discuss in pairs what they think the relationship between
cm and mm is. Time (max 1 minute) ask the student to justify and explain their answers. [1
cm is made up of 10 mm, as seen on the ruler. Equivalency] If the students are experiencing
difficulty with this concept, give out the 3 paper strips for them to examine. Hopefully, this will
help to illustrate that although all three strips are equal in size, one is 10cm long, the second is
100mm and the third is 1dm.

Next, ask students to predict what the relationship between dm and cm is. [reminder: this is a
standardized system] Discuss with students which situations would call for each of the units.

Time (12 minutes)

Begin constructing the other side of the line. As each unit is revealed, discuss with students
which situations would call for each of the units. Also, as the rest of the line is being mapped
out, ask students what the relationship between each unit should be. By the end of this activity,
students should have a grasp on the idea that each unit is 10x more than the previous one.
Practical Activity

Time (10 minutes)

Next, Students will be split into pairs (2 groups) to measure the lengths of several objects.
Each pair will take turns measuring the length of the hallway, the length of a new unsharpened
pencil, and the length of a pushpin. They will be given a ruler and a meter stick to choose from.
Each pair will be responsible for deciding which unit of measurement to use. Each pair will
record their findings on worksheet (see end for sample.)
Discussion of findings
Each group will present their findings and the method they used to measure each length.
These results are recorded on a piece of chart paper. Speak for a few moments on the importance
of standardization. [If time permits, tell the story of NASA measurement mix-up of 1999]
T: Sometimes it can be difficult to remember the order of the units. Introduce mnemonic device:
King Henry Died mother didnt cry much.

Culminating activity Time (7 minutes)

Now that the students have the measurements from the previous activity, ask them to
convert each one to another logical unit individually (e.g. 60cm to 6dm or 0.6m, 5cm to
50mm not 0.5-5km)


Comment [m1]: Do you feel this is


Students will be assessed on their understanding throughout the lesson and in a

culminating activity.
During the lesson: attention will be paid to the level of student discussion in accordance
with the checklist developed to assess their comprehension. Students action will also be
observed to see if they are able to complete the tasks assigned to them. Also, to note how they
interact with the materials provided and their level of comfort.
After the lesson: Students worksheets will be examined to evaluate their understanding
of the concepts explored during the lesson. The information gathered from these assessments
would hypothetically be used to determine how the next lesson will proceed and whether
anything would need to be retaught before moving on to the next skill. [See supplemental
document for comprehension and skills checklists]
Possible extensions
If the students progress through the tasks quickly and there is extra time, two possible
activities are suggested:
The first involves converting from one unit to another. The numbers will be determined by
the teacher. Some suggestion included:

50cm to mm

25m to cm

73mm to cm

360m to mm

40m to km

The second possible activity involves testing students understanding of the value each unit is
meant to measure. Possible questions:

A fence is to be put up along the edge of a farm. What unit should the farmer use to
measure out the length of fencing? (accept anything from m to hm)

Which unit is best to measure the distance between Philadelphia and New York?
Philadelphia and the moon? (km for both)

Which unit is best when measuring the length of a mealworm? (mm) a python? (m
largest ever recorded is about 7m)

Which unit to measure the height of a child? (m) The height of a Barbie? (cm)

Further Work:
If I were to teach a second lesson about the metric system, the focus of that lesson would
be applying the students understanding to solve word problems (linear) and to begin exploring
how the metric system applies to measurements of area and volume.

Measuring with the Metric system

What you



Justify your choice of units

Length of

Width of

Length of

Length of

In the space below, convert the length of the table to another unit of your

In the space below, convert the length of the hallway into millimeters (mm).

Convert the length of the pencil into the same units you used to measure the
length of the pushpin. Show your work.

If the earths atmosphere extends 700km from earths surface, how many
hectometers would a spacecraft have to travel to reach the outer layer of the
atmosphere? Show your work.