K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • measure classroom objects in non-standard units.
  • measure their height in standard units (inches) and record results on a class graph.
  • create a model of an animal, measuring its height and length in standard units (inches).
  • write a descriptive paragraph about their animal.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2 weeks


  • Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy
  • Pencil, crayons, and markers
  • Drawing paper (8×11) per person
  • Measuring tape for each group (inches)
  • A box of Milkbone dog biscuits or similar product for each group
  • Three sheets of aluminum foil (measuring 20×12 each) per group
  • Writing paper
  • Chart paper


  • The students should have a basic understanding of measuring with non-standard and standard units.
  • The students should be capable of formulating complete sentences.


Day 1

Teacher should introduce the story titled Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy to the class. After discussing the story, the teacher will tell the children that for the next few days they will be working on activities centered around the book.

Day 2

  1. Teacher introduces activity titled “Bunches of Biscuits”. Teacher will divide the class into small groups.
  2. Each group will get a supply of dog biscuits to use for measuring. The teacher selects one person in each group to be the recorder.
  3. Each group is to brainstorm a list of ten classroom objects to measure with dog biscuits. The recorder is to write down the list of ten objects.
  4. Students are permitted to circulate around the classroom to measure the length of each object on the list using their dog biscuits. The recorder in each group will list the measurements of the objects on their list.
  5. The whole class will come back together to report on their findings. Teacher can record results on a class chart titled “Bunches of Biscuits”.

Day 3

  1. Teacher will review the story Measuring Penny and will discuss how the main character chose to measure dogs in the park.
  2. Teacher will distribute 8×11 drawing paper to each child and instruct them to draw an accurate picture of themselves from head to toe. Students may color the picture at the completion of the lesson.
  3. After the pictures are completed, the class will be divided into groups of three. One student will be measured while either lying on the floor or standing against the wall. The other two students will work together to measure that person. Every person in the group should be measured.
  4. Students will record their height in inches on their drawing.
  5. The class will come back as a whole group to arrange their heights in order from shortest to tallest with their pictures.
  6. Teacher will then use the pictures to create an interactive bulletin board. This bulletin board may be used in a future math center. The teacher could formulate questions for the students to answer based on their results.

Day 4

  1. The teacher introduces the activity “Creature Features” to the class. The teacher will tell the children that they will work together in a group to create an animal of their choice using aluminum foil. In this activity the teacher will model how to make an animal out of aluminum foil. The teacher will take two sheets of 20×12 aluminum foil and lay one sheet over the other to form an “X”. The teacher will lay the third sheet of foil down the middle of the “X”. The teacher will then demonstrate how to crumple the foil to form the body and four legs.
  2. Teacher will divide the class into groups of three children. Students will decide on an animal to create. Each group will get three sheets of aluminum foil to work with.
  3. Each group makes a model of the selected animal from the foil.
  4. The students will measure the height and length of their animal using standard units (inches).
  5. The group of students will write a descriptive paragraph about their animal, including their measurements. Additional information could include name of animal, habitat, eating habits, etc.
  6. The students will then display their animals and share their paragraphs with the class.


The teacher will use anecdotal records, observation and written work to measure success during this lesson.

Supplemental information

Teacher should practice making a model of an animal with aluminum foil prior to the lesson.


These activities are only a few of many that you could develop around the book Measuring Penny. This could be used as a starting point for other activities that you create. We think you’ll find the book to be enjoyable and educational.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 2

        • Measurement & Data
          • 2.MD.1 Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
          • 2.MD.3 Estimate lengths using units of inches, feet, centimeters, and meters.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 2

  • Goal 2: Measurement - The learner will recognize and use standard units of metric and customary measurement.
    • Objective 2.01: Estimate and measure using appropriate units.
      • Length (meters, centimeters, feet, inches, yards).
      • Temperature (Fahrenheit).