Measurement is one of those math concepts that can be really fun and hands-on to teach – but it can also be quite tricky. I always found it somewhat difficult to explain the some of the logistics of measurement to my students. For instance, explaining why we have a standard and a metric form of measurement was always a bit of a hit or miss for me.
Plus, there are a lot of different aspects of measurement that need to be covered – length, width, weight, volume…the list goes on and on! As a teacher, it can feel like an overwhelming amount of information to explain. And it can feel like an equally overwhelming amount of information for your students to digest.
Which is why using measurement-focused children’s books can be an effective resource to help your students gain a deeper understanding of all things measurement! Not only do these books add a literacy element to your math curriculum, but they present your students with a creative and interactive tool for comprehending measurement concepts. The following list of books offer a rich variety of story lines, cover multiple measurement skills, and will engage your students while enriching their math experience!
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How Long or How Wide? A Measuring Guide by Brian Cleary
How Long or How Wide?: A Measuring Guide (Math Is Categorical) by Brian Cleary is a fantastic book to introduce measurement to your little learners! Focusing on length, this text doesn’t have a traditional story line – but what it does have is rhyming text, colorful characters, and clever examples. Combine all of that with easy-to-understand comparison of metric and standard units of measurement and you’ve got yourself an incredibly useful resource for your measurement lessons.
Super Sandcastle Saturday by Stuart Murphy (Math Start)
One of the trickiest things about teaching measurement often comes from trying to explain the difference between standard and metric. While Super Sandcastle Saturday by Stuart Murphy doesn’t necessarily explain the difference between the two, it does do an excellent job of explaining the basics of standard measurement. This is a great foundation book for building measurement skills. It features a cute story about kids entering a sandcastle building contest and how the winner is determined. If you’re looking for a book to kick off your measurement unit, this is the perfect choice!
Mighty Maddie by Stuart Murphy
If you’re looking to introduce the concept of weight to a younger group, Mighty Maddie by Stuart Murphy is the perfect way to do it! Maddie is faced with the task of cleaning up her bedroom, something no child enjoys. So, Maddie decides to make the task more fun by imagining herself as a superhero! As she embarks on a super-hero fueled cleaning spree, she offers readers a straightforward lesson about the difference between items that are light and heavy. This text offers a cute, no-frills story to help little learners understand weight.
Grades: PreK – 2
How Tall, How Short, How Far Away by David Adler
Sometimes when learning a math concept, it helps to understand a bit about where it came from. With How Tall, How Short, How Far Away? by David Adler, you can offer your students some background on the history of measurement. This text covers the history of measurement from Ancient Egypt to Roman times, all the way up to present day metric and standard measurement. With hands on activities throughout the text, your little learners will be engaged for hours on end. I love that this book can be used for more than just one lesson, making it an extremely versatile resource!
Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? By Robert E. Wells
With Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? by Robert E. Wells, you get a book that touches on math concepts AND scientific inquiry. This thought-provoking book uses measurement as a jumping off point to really stretch your student’s imaginations. By pondering whether a blue whale is the biggest thing there is, readers are prompted to explore a variety of large items that can be measured – even the universe! I truly love this book – it’s special and original and will really add to your math OR science instruction.
Millions to Measure by David E. Schwartz
In Millions to Measure by David Schwartz, Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician is back at it again, but this time with a lesson on the history of measurement. Through clever examples and beautiful illustrations, Marvelosissimo explains things like weight, volume, and the metric system to readers. I love this book for explaining the difference between standard and metric forms of measurement – a topic I always find tricky.
Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy
Loreen Leedy is kind of a guru when it comes to writing math-based children’s books. And her measurement focused title, Measuring Penny, is just another excellent example of her math-writing chops. Students will easily relate to the story of a little girl, Penny, who must to measure something as many ways as possible for a math assignment. Penny chooses to measure her dog and finds that once she starts, she doesn’t want to stop! Just as your students won’t want to stop reading this clever tale as they learn about various standard and non-standard units of measurement.
Twelve Snails to One Lizard by Susan Hightower
Your math class will enjoy a good dose of humor with Twelve Snails to One Lizard: A Tale of Mischief and Measurement by Susan Hightower. Although this book focuses more on the broad idea of measurement and non-standard forms of measurement, I find it to be a highly entertaining addition to any math lesson. Sometimes a little laughter can really re-energize learning! If you want a lighthearted, measurement focused storybook to liven up your math time, this is the book for you!
Counting On Frank by Rod Clement
Your class will adore Counting On Frank by Rod Clement, the story of a very curious boy named Frank who likes to ask A LOT of questions. He explores measurement-related questions like how long his pen will write before it runs out of ink or how many dogs would fit in his bath. The various ponderings of Frank are easily translated into classroom activities, which makes it one of my favorites. I love any book that can be used as a foundation for hands-on lessons. Plus, teachers and students alike will get a kick out of Franks hilarious and never-ending curiosity!
Me and the Measure of Things by Joan Sweeney
This book does such an excellent job of introducing and explaining all the many ways that we measure things. With a lovable narrator that readers may recognize from other books in this series,Me and the Measure of Things by Joan Sweeney clearly expresses the differences between wet and dry measurements, weight, size, and length. The best part is that all of these sometimes tricky concepts are put into extremely kid-friendly terms – without losing any of the depth and meaning! This is a must-have for teaching measurement!
On the Scale, A Weighty Tale by Brian Cleary
Another gem in the Math is CATagorical series, On the Scale, a Weighty Tale by Brian Cleary is a fun way to expose your students to various examples of standard and metric measurement regarding weight. With likeable cartoon illustrations, entertaining rhymes, and real-life examples this book will grab your students attention and maintain it as they learn all about the many ways to measure weight.
Other Measurement Resources
If you’re teaching measurement and looking for some other great tools to help your students understand the various concepts of measurement, take a look at the following resources. They are all written by a teacher author who has her master’s degree in elementary mathematics and knows what it takes to help kids understand tough mathematical concepts!
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“Teaching 4th grade for four years has helped shape me as a teacher who is passionate about creating a classroom that engages and inspires my students, integrates technology-driven learning, offers real-world experiences, and breeds creativity. I have taught highly diverse classes with high populations of ESL learners, Special Ed learners, and behavior challenges–granting me a deep understanding on the importance of personalizing learning for each and every student. As a teacher, I am constantly learning and evolving, but the one constant is always putting my students first!”