I've been working with my third graders for the past week or so on measurement, and the biggest trouble area seems to be measuring to the quarter inch. To the inch and to the half inch are both fine. So far here's what I've done to help cement the idea of a quarter inch. We've talked about how an inch can be split into four pieces (and our rulers only go down to fourths, so that helps). I've had them fold a blank piece of paper into fourths, then we color one section at a time to talk about how many pieces out of four are shaded in. They understand that. They also understand that 2/4 is the same as one half because of the colored paper. We've drawn lines in quarter inch increments using rulers. I have a document camera, so the kids can see me draw it on the screen as they do it, too. They can draw the lines just fine, but saying that this line is 1 and 1/4 of an inch, or that this line is 5 and 3/4 inches is the struggle. 3 1/2? Fine. 8 1/2? Fine. Anything with 1/4 or 3/4 is where they seem to struggle. Does anybody have any clever ideas or tricks to help me with my kiddos here? I'd be quite appreciative for any thoughts.

Can you use a labeled paper ruler? We have a six-inch paper one that we label together (label inches, and then label every 1/4, 1/2, 3/4). After measuring with that for a few days, they usually transition to the regular ruler.

Can they name a model as 3 1/4 if you drew a picture. I would start with drawing models of mixed numbers and having the students name these. Then transferring to the ruler.

I like this idea. Any idea if there's a good one available online, or would I just need to make one (which wouldn't be a problem)? It's sad...our pacing guide doesn't have fractions until later in the year. Pretty backwards, right? So to answer your question, they might be able to, but I'm not sure since we haven't hit that yet. We are revamping our pacing guide for next year, and, believe me, this is something I have been planning on suggesting!

I was just talking to someone the other day about how we haven't done much measuring because we're just starting to work on fractions! Sorry, I'm no help on an online ruler--we have one with our curriculum.

I would definitely have a short lesson on mixed numbers with the students. No wonder they are struggling with this concept.

Try having them measure a line that is 1/4 inch long and another line that is 3/4 inch long, to begin with, perhaps. S Dubb, are you anywhere near an IKEA? The stores have paper measuring tapes, 1 meter on one side and 40 inches on the other, that are free for the taking.

Aw, S Dubb: IKEA's one of my choices for a cheap dinner. Here's a page with some links for blackline ruler masters: http://voices.yahoo.com/free-printable-math-measurement-tools-standard-ruler-5658370.html. What about having the kids themselves make their own paper rulers?

If you have the students make their own rulers, maybe have them color in the 1/4 marks a special color, the 1/2 marks another color and the 3/4 marks a different color.

Between the last time I checked this thread and now, I already made some rulers to print out for the kids. They only go to nine inches, but I think it will get the point across. As a thank you for all the suggestions, I'm uploading a copy of it here in case anybody wants it. I have four of these on one page ready in a Word document, but I don't know how I can post that. So I figure this is better than nothing, right? The measurements are indeed accurate. As far as having the kids make one, maybe that could be a good followup activity after they've had practice using this one for a few days. Thanks again so much to everybody for the suggestions. Greatly appreciated! Keep 'em coming! :thanks: EDIT: After one use today, I realized that you have to cut INSIDE the black border to make it an accurate measure. For those who saw this yesterday, I had a very thick black border around it instead of what you see now. To compensate, I've thinned out the border. This ruler is indeed accurate.

S Dubb thanks for posting the ruler! I'm reading this thread because it's always a challenge to teach measurement to my 3rd graders. This will help!

Someone mentioned color, and I wanted to add that we've done that too--we go trhough the ruler and put a green dot on all the inch marks, a blue dot on the marks we use when measuring to the half inch, and a red dot on the marks we use for the quarter inch. So, the inch marks end up with all three dots. That helps the kids who think that when they measure to the quarter inch they have to have a 4 in there!

The practice ruler (above) worked! The kids did a great job with it, and I'm going to slowly wean them off of it over the next few days. Also, I came up with a song while driving to school today. I have no idea how it came to me. It just did (and boy am I glad it did, because it really helped, too!). You know the song by Sharon, Lois, and Bram where they sing, "I am slowly going crazy, 1,2,3,4,5,6 switch! Crazy going slowly am I, 6,5,4,3,2,1 switch!" For those who don't, click here for a video of it. Well I changed the words for measuring in quarter inches: Then just sing it again (but don't reverse the fraction order). I had the kids point to each line on the practice ruler while they sang it (we did the entire ruler), then we turned it over and did it on a real ruler. Oh man, I'm so pumped right now. Thank you for all the ideas about paper rulers and the rest of the input as well. I hope my little song is able to help others, too!

I was going to suggest going metric :lol: (Ok, I know that's not helpful, but I had to get it in there ) Glad you seem to have it figured out now though!

HaHa, monsieur! We get to teach both, anyways, and explaining how there are two different systems opens up a whole 'nother can of worms...

Today my kids "complained" that the song was stuck in their head all day yesterday (to which I just laughed). They couldn't wait to sing it this afternoon when we had math. Today there were so many that didn't even need the practice ruler anymore!

So glad it's working for you! My 5th graders are working on measuring to the 8th inch and though most get the quarter inch fine the 8th is a killer for several. And I recall with much pain teaching measuring to the 8th at the high school when I had a sewing class. Sewing patterns are measured with 8th and we did a measuring unit and it was rather painful for many of them. Point being, if you can get these third graders to REALLY get it now, you'll save many future teachers a lot of pain. So not only am I happy for you I am happy for your student's future teachers as well.