Expected level of development
Australian Curriculum Mathematics V9: AC9MFM01
Numeracy Progression: Understanding units of measurement: P2
At this level, students are introduced to measurement through direct comparison.
Provide hands-on experiences to compare and order items or events according to their length, duration, mass and capacity.
Support students to use appropriate terms to describe attributes of length, capacity, duration and mass. These may include: long, wide or high to describe length; how much something holds to describe capacity; fast, quick, slow, a long time and a short time to describe duration; and light and heavy to describe mass.
Give opportunities to informally compare two objects or two events.
- Use comparative language to invite direct comparison of objects (e.g. ‘Find something taller than this tower.’ or ‘Find something heavier than this chair.’).
- Use hefting to compare which object feels heavier.
- Pour water from one container into the other to see which one holds more.
- Decide which takes longer when comparing two events started at the same time.
Teaching and learning summary:
- Directly compare the lengths, mass and capacities of two objects.
- Directly compare duration of two events.
- Describe comparisons of length, mass and capacity using everyday language.
- Connect measurement to personal experiences.
- describe length, mass and capacity using comparative language appropriately, for example, ‘shorter’ and ‘shortest’, ‘lighter’ and ‘lightest’, ‘holds more/less’
- compare two events started at the same time, to determine which takes longer
- compare directly the size of objects (e.g. by placing one object against another to determine which is longer) and the capacity of different objects (e.g. by pouring rice, sand or water from one container into the other to see which one holds more).
Some students may:
- compare lengths by simply measuring a straight line from start to finish, even when the objects are curved, wiggly or follow a zig-zag. Address this by showing a measurement mistake and ask them to reason why it is a mistake; what did the person measuring not make sure of?
- not yet grasp the principle of conservation; that things don’t change in length or capacity just by being moved. Help students develop this understanding by discussing demonstrations such as pouring an amount of water from one glass to another glass which is the same size, then to a third glass of a different size.
- believe that larger objects are always heavier than smaller objects, or that taller containers always hold more than slightly shorter containers. Support students to feel this for themselves using exaggerated examples (e.g. using balance scales to show how they become unbalanced when objects have different masses may assist students with their understanding).
The Learning from home activities are designed to be used flexibly by teachers, parents and carers, as well as the students themselves. They can be used in a number of ways including to consolidate and extend learning done at school or for home schooling.
- We are learning how to compare objects to work out which is longer.
Why are we learning about this?
- We sometimes need to work out the length of an object.
What to do
Cut a piece of string.
Find some things around your home that are the same length as, longer than, or shorter than the string.
Sort the items into groups.
Shorter than the string
Same length as the string
Longer than the string
- Draw a picture of what you found out.
- describe an object as long or short
- compare two objects to see which is longer
- sort objects by length
- draw and describe what I found out.
- We are learning to describe how long it takes to do something.
Why are we learning about this?
- We often need to know if an activity takes a long time or a short time.
What I want you to do
- Work out which activities take a short time and which activities take a long time.
- Sort the activities into groups.
Drink a glass of water
Walk to the shops and back
Watch a movie
Bounce a ball 5 times
Read a book
Clean your teeth
Wash your hands
- List the activities that take a short time.
- How can you work out which takes the shortest time?
- Try timing how long an activity takes by counting the number of claps it takes to do it.
- Draw a picture to show what you found out.
- describe an activity by how long it takes to do
- sort activities by how long they take to do
- measure how long an activity takes using claps
- work out which activity takes the shortest time to do.
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A collection of evidence-based teaching strategies applicable to this topic. Note we have not included an exhaustive list and acknowledge that some strategies such as differentiation apply to all topics. The selected teaching strategies are suggested as particularly relevant, however you may decide to include other strategies as well.
Concrete, Representational, Abstract (CRA)
The CRA model is a three-phased approach where students move from concrete or virtual manipulatives, to making visual representations and on to using symbolic notation.Go to resource
By giving students meaningful problems to solve they are engaged and can apply their learning, thereby deepening their understanding.Go to resource
Explicit teaching is about making the learning intentions and success criteria clear, with the teacher using examples and working though problems, setting relevant learning tasks and checking student understanding and providing feedback.Go to resource
Culturally responsive pedagogy
Mathematics is not an exclusive western construct. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge and demonstrate the mathematics to be found in all cultures.Go to resource
A range of resources to support you to build your student's understanding of these concepts, their skills and procedures. The resources incorporate a variety of teaching strategies.
How many do you need?
Use this activity (p 16) to explore the relationship between the size of an informal unit and the quantity required to measure an object.Resource details
reSolve: Woolly worms
A two-part sequence that provides an opportunity to discover, model and discuss strategies for measuring length.Resource details
My drink bottle
These language-based activities explore capacity (i.e. the space within containers) through direct and indirect comparison.Resource details
A lesson that will encourage discussion as students investigate capacity.Resource details
A selection of activities for developing an understanding of mass by comparing the weight (how heavy they feel) of objects.Resource details
This problem offers a novel context for exploring length, height, capacity and volume in hands-on and practical ways.Resource details
A three-act task that compares the height of two sisters. Elicit thinking in students about what information, strategies and/or tools will help to solve the problem.Resource details
Teaching Measurement: Early Stage 1 - Stage 1
A teaching guide that brings together fundamental measurement ideas about length, area, volume and capacity and mass.Resource details
How long does it take?
Use this resource to develop the language of time and connect time problems to their local environment.Resource details
By the end of Foundation, students are identifying the attributes of mass, capacity, length and duration, and using direct comparison strategies to compare objects and events.
Teaching Measurement: Early Stage 1 - Stage 1
Use page 12 of this guide to conduct assessments on measurement topics through individual questioning of a small group of students.Resource details
Use this diagnostic task in the style of a one-on-one interview to assess a student's knowledge and understanding of an object's properties and their use of comparative language.Resource details