Depending on your state, there are student expectations that measure using rulers and measuring tape; those are standard forms of measurement. Non-standard uses objects to measure the length of something. This activity utilizes non-standard measurement.
To begin you need to prepare by gathering the items below. Use the colored duct tape (mine had a monster design on it) to place lines on the floor around the room in different areas. You’ll want them to be far enough apart for your groups to be able to measure them without interference from other groups. You can use the walls or doors but make sure the line is within the students’ reach. Place one non-standard form of measurement at each station. For example, a box of cubes at one station, a box of paper clips at another station, colored sticky notes at another station etc. The students should be broken into pairs to rotate to the stations. 2 pairs of students can be at each station working to measure the lines together. Depending on the age of the students, 5 min at each station should be enough time for them to measure, record the data on their sheet and clean up their station before you allow them to move on to the next one.
This activity can be done with duct tape lines that are all approximately the same to show how non-standard measurement can have different answers for measuring the same line lengths. It can be repeated with all different duct tape lines as a practice for the actual skill of measuring (ie making sure you use items end-to-end.) It can be repeated a third time for estimation. It is a very versatile activity.
You will need:
• Cubes or blocks
• Paper Clips
• Paper plates (large or small)
• Wooden clips (clothes pins)
• Sticky notes
• Colored duct tape