Non-Standard Measuring

Elementary School Lessons || Contents

Author: Joanne Caniglia

Grade Level: 1-3

Description: Students will gain experience in measurement by using a non-standard measuring tool.


Resources/Materials: Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry Allard (Houghton, 1977).
Flowered dress
Orthopedic Shoes
Candy Bars


  1. The teacher will read Miss Nelson is Missing.
  2. The following day, the teacher will dress as Viola Swamp, the substitute teacher in the story. She will announce to students that she cannot find anything to measure things with, but she does have some candy bars.
  3. Students will work with their partners to measure several items in the classroom and chart their measurements for comparison.
  4. Discussion will ensue and rank order their results. Eventually, students should come to the fact that nonstandard units are less reliable (there are many candy bar sizes).
  5. The next day, the teacher returns to the class as herself and asks students to write what happened in school the day before.

Evaluation: Students will write and orally review what happened the day Viola Swamp was the substitute teacher

Elementary School Lessons and Materials

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