Instructional Shift 7: Tie the math to such questions as: "How big?" "How much?" "How far?" to increase the natural use of measurement throughout the curriculum

Chapter 8: How Big, How Far, How Much?

What should we see in an effective mathematics classroom?

-Lots of questions are included that ask: How big? How far? How much? How many?

  • Work with your team to develop scenarios and/or questions that challenge students to develop "measurement-sense" in non-traditional ways. For example, "How many raisins would it take to fill this classroom?" or "Show me with your hands approximately 50 centimeter. How do you know your estimate is good?"

-Measurement is an ongoing part of daily instruction and the entry point for a much larger chunk of the curriculum

  • Facilitate a team brainstorming session to respond to these questions:
    • Which concepts in the curriculum lend themselves naturally to the integration of measurement into the lesson?
    • How can we integrate concepts of measurement into lessons whose focus does not provide a natural connection to measurement?

-Students are frequently asked to find and estimate measures, to use measuring, and to describe the relative size of measures that arise during instruction

  • Facilitate a team brainstorming session to identify ways to integrate estimation as a daily routine in the mathematics classroom. Develop a list of strategies to help "institutionalize" this practice.

-The teacher offers frequent reminders that much measurement is referential--that is, we use a referent (such as your height or a sheet of paper) to estimate measures.

  • Work with your team to develop scenarios and/or questions that require to measure or compute using non-standard measures. For example, "How far is it from here to the front office if our unit of measure is people?" {Embedded is this challenge is the determination of what is meant by "people." People lying down? Standing in line? Adults? Students? Average height?}