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Teaching measurement conversions? KS2

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Juliet6079, May 1, 2018.

  1. Juliet6079

    Juliet6079 New commenter

    Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions - I'm a trainee teacher in a mixed 4/5 class and last week I tried to teach converting metric measurements. mm - cm, cm - m. A lot of the class just didn't grasp it, although their multiplying by 10 and 100 knowledge seems pretty secure and we've practised that. I taught it for a few lessons and we just couldn't seem to get it!

    I've moved on to some shape work for now, giving myself time to re-plan and come back to measurement.

    Anything that's work well for you? Converting metric measurements and then converting to imperial as well? This is a high ability Year 4 / low ability Year 5 class. Anything that can help me to explain it better and teach it effectively would be amaaazing :)
  2. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    I would maybe use some things like maths mats, showing them instructions on how to measure etc. Some kids do get confused, like even when it comes to measuring from the right place on the ruler. Perhaps next time use mixed-ability groups so the highers can help the lowers, go round the class measuring real-life practical measures, working in pairs. Otherwise you may find the low-attainers/SEN are very labour-intensive. Most maths areas require another shot, particularly timetables for some reason!
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    They need lots of practical experience where they can compare 10cm, 100mm etc. So Dienes rods or whatever measuring apparatus you have. Then move on to the bigger measurements using metre rules/ tapes etc.

    Just seen the post above and yes lots of practice measuring from the correct place on a ruler.
    theluckycat likes this.
  4. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    Imperial units were the only thing I hated about teaching Year 6 maths - being a child of the seventies, when the whole world was going to go metric, I was deliberately taught nothing of the mysteries of the out-dated and obsolete imperial system... Imagine my surprise to find it still hanging around in the primary curriculum a good thirty years later!

    As a result, I can never remember how many pounds there are in an ounce, or whether a yard is more or less than a gallon, so I dreaded having to teach the stuff and sound like I knew what I was talking about. My survival strategy was simple: I’d teach the children the two little rhymes I’ve learned off by heart (“A litre of water’s a pint and three quarters” and “Two and a quarter pounds of jam is round about a kilogram”) and then give out a few worksheets and tell them to get on with it. It was most definitely not my finest hour as a teacher, but it got me through.

    I’m a metric girl through and through. I love the fact that 1ml of water weighs 1g and takes up 1 cm3 of space. That’s beautiful, isn’t it? Once you know that, you can design fish tanks (and the imaginary fish to go in them) with confidence.
  5. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    yes yes and yes again. Lots and lots and lots of practical measuring. Both indoors and outdoors now the weather is better. Can often be combined with PE or topic to get some extra time for the practical side of it.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. Waiguoren

    Waiguoren Occasional commenter

    I'd go with the advice above about lots of practical activities and exercises.
    Also, it's worth identifying and teaching the patterns - it's multiplying or dividing by ten or a hundred or a thousand, and if they can learn the word patterns with milli and kilo and centi, that will be a big help.
    Once they have a better grasp of the basics, can I recommend https://www.thatquiz.org/tq-n/science/metric-system/ as an excellent means of practising, testing and drilling.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    'A metre measures three foot three, it's longer than a yard you see'. I started school the year before we went decimal. Most of the maths books were still imperial for years after we had converted.

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