Being able to express measurements is a very practical skill that even advanced students of English may need practice doing. Are they comfortable stating fractions? Do they know that a decimal point is read as “point” as in ninety-eight point six (98.6)? How fluent are they in the U.S. system of measurements? Can they more or less understand weather forecasts using Fahrenheit?
Here’s a fun way to give your students some practice with the U.S. system of measurements. Feel free to share your own ways of practicing these skills.
Set up five stations around the room. In pairs or small groups, have the students move from station to station performing each task. Make sure each student has a notebook and pencil.
- Station 1 – Length. [Supplies needed = tape measure or yard stick]
Task: Measure your partner(s). How tall are they? Record their heights in feet and inches.
- Station 2- Weight. [Supplies needed = a scale and a medium sized trash bag]
Task: Place all your shoes in the bag. How much do they weight? Record the weight in pounds (and ounces, if the scale is electronic). Alternative: Weigh someone’s backpack or purse.
- Station 3 – Liquid measurements. [Supplies needed = 3-4 empty milk or water bottles of different sizes]
Task: Look at the labels. How much does the largest bottle hold? How much does the next largest bottle hold? How much does the smallest bottle hold? Record your answers using gallons, quarts, and pints. (If possible, also record how many fluid ounces there are in each container.)
- Station 4 – Cooking measurements. [Supplies needed = bag of flour, measuring spoons, measuring cups, coffee mug]
Task: How many cups of flour fit in the coffee mug? How many tablespoons are needed to fill one cup? How many teaspoons are needed to fill a tablespoon?
- Station 5 – Temperature. [ Supplies needed = weather thermometer, calculator (optional)]
Task: What’s the temperature of the classroom in Fahrenheit? How much is that in Celsius?
Note: °F to °C = Subtract 32, then multiply by 5, then divide by 9.