Math - 2018-19

1.10 - Non-Standard Measurement

The student will 

  • use nonstandard units to measure and compare length, weight, and volume.

Adopted: 2016


  • So that by using non-standard units of measure to compare length, weight and volume, I will be ready to use standard units of measure in my later learning 
  • So that I can begin to observe my world in ways that use length, weight and volume when I think about how tall my desk is, or how much my book might weigh or how much space the rug in my classroom take up


  • The process of measurement involves selecting a unit of measure, comparing the unit to the object to be measured, counting the number of times the unit is used to measure the object, and arriving at an approximate total number of units.
  • Measurement involves comparing an attribute of an object to the same attribute of the unit of measurement (e.g., the length of a cube measures the length of a book; the weight of the cube measures the weight of the book; the volume of the cube measures the volume of a book).
  • Premature use of instruments or formulas leaves children without the understanding necessary for solving measurement problems.
  • When children’s initial explorations of length, weight, and volume involve the use of nonstandard units, they develop some understanding about the need for standard measurement units for length, weight, and volume, especially when they communicate about these measures.
  • The level of difficulty in measuring volume can be increased by varying and mixing the sizes and/or shapes of the containers (e.g., using short, wide containers as well as tall, narrow containers).
  • Students develop conservation of measurement when they understand that the attributes do not change when the object is manipulated (e.g., a piece of string that is coiled maintains its length as it is straightened; the volume of water does not change when poured from a pitcher into a fish tank.)
  • Physically measuring the weights of objects, using a balance scale, helps students develop an intuitive idea of what it means to say something is “lighter,” “heavier,” or “the same.”
  • Balance scales are instruments used for comparing weight. A balance scale usually has a beam that is supported in the center. On each side of the beam are two identical trays. When the trays hold equal weights, the beam is level, and the scale is “balanced.” The tray containing less weight will rise and the tray containing more weight will fall. 
  • Experience estimating the weights of two objects (one in each hand) using the terms “lighter,” “heavier,” or “the same” promotes an understanding of the concept of balance.


The student will use problem solving, mathematical communication, mathematical reasoning, connections, and representations to

  • Measure the length of objects, using various nonstandard units (e.g., connecting cubes, paper clips, erasers).
  • Compare the length of two objects, using the terms longer/shorter, taller/shorter, or same as.
  • Measure the weight of objects, using a balance or pan scale with various nonstandard units (e.g., paper clips, bean bags, cubes).
  • Identify a balance scale or a pan scale as a tool for measuring weight.
  • Compare the weight of two objects, using the terms lighter, heavier, or the same, using a balance scale.
  • Measure the volume of objects, using various nonstandard units (e.g., connecting cubes, blocks, rice, water).
  • Compare the volumes of two containers to determine whether the volume of one is more, less, or equivalent to the other, using nonstandard units of measure (e.g., a spoonful or scoopful of rice, sand, jelly beans).
  • Compare the volumes of two containers to determine whether the volume of one is more, less, or equivalent to the other by pouring the contents of one container into the other.


Updated: Aug 22, 2018