Grade 3–Measurement

We are continuing our Time and Measurement block with linear and liquid measure. We started off with a  story from Live Ed about measuring feet. Then we measured everyone’s feet in our family (including the dog!), and glued them to the book. We also worked out the average size foot in our house:

foot average 3rd grader
Third Grader’s

foot measure mom

We then learned about the different measurements that were done with the body. We went around the house and yard, measuring, measuring, and measuring:

body measure 3rd grader

body measure mom

We went out in the field behind our house and measured the ark, using his arm as a cubit, and cutting a length of string 10 cubits long. The ark was enormous!

ark measure 3rd grader (2)
3rd Grader’s Ark.

ark measure mom
Mom’s Ark.

ark measure 3rd grader
This is my daughter’s ark that she made 2 years ago.

Then we worked on smaller measurements. We played a guessing game… how long do you think that table is? Let’s all guess! Then we would measure and see which guess was the nearest. We worked out equivalences with the yardstick and drew a ruler for the Main Lesson Book:

ruler measurements 3rd grader

The pictures below are the maps my daughter and I made in 3rd grade a couple of years ago. I decided not to do it again with my son since we only have so much time, but it was a fun experience. Since we make this trip on our bikes now and then, the children both have a sense of a mile. The pictures were made with pencils shavings, and I wish the photos were better quality. Trust me, these pencil shaving pictures are much so lovely in person!

mile measure 3rd gradermile measure mom

We took to the kitchen for liquid measure. We got out a big pot of water and a lot of containers. My third grader poured and poured and wrote down his findings in a little notebook:


We have friends with goats, so we pretended that we could adopt 3 of the babies and name them. Then we figured out how to divide up the milk:

liquid measure 3rd grader

liquid measure mom

We ended our lessons this week with a painting of a goat! I painted one the night before, but I ran out of paper and we had to use some watercolor paper that is terrible for the wet-on-wet method. It is so important to have the right supplies. This paper fell apart as we painted, and it was very frustrating for my son. However, he added lovely prickly pear cactus, and that seemed to cheer him up for some reason! I will have to pick up some new paper this week.

painting goat 3rd grader 2
3rd Grader’s goat.

painting goat mom2painting goat mom
Mom’s practice goat and lesson goat.

addition practice 3rd gradercarrying practice 3rd grader
We also took some time during this block to work on addition of bigger numbers. He struggled with carrying, so we took a break for a while. At the beginning of this block, I showed him the first method of adding the tens and ones separately. We worked with that for a couple of weeks, and then I showed him how to carry in the attic. Voila! He seems to finally get it! I got this idea from Jamie York’s book Making Math Meaningful:

Making Math Meaningful is a great resource for teaching the progression of math skills. This is not a book that will lay out particular lessons or stories, but it will show how a child can build his skills in a meaningful way. I love the way they show the progression of learning fractions. Simply multiplying the numerator and the denominator is a trick. Jamie York explains how to show the child the reasoning, before teaching the ‘trick’. The addition work that we did above is a great example of this. I am just so thrilled that it worked!

This entry was posted in Grade 3, Math, Time and Measurement, Watercolor Painting. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Grade 3–Measurement

  1. Michelle says:

    I love your beautiful and artistic approach. You have a lovely illustration style – Waldorf, yet your own.

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m way behind on block planning for this second part of the school year. I’m scrambling today to start a measurement block on Monday, thanks for your help here!

  3. Vidyalakshmi R says:

    Hi! Am reading this now while planning for a main lesson block wit my 3rd graders… Am wondering how you taught your child the concept of “average” foot size? Would be good to hear from you…

    Thanks & Rgds,

    • Waldorf Mom says:

      That is a great question. I should have mentioned that in my post. This can be a very tricky thing to teach to third graders, since they haven’t been taught fractions and decimals yet. The problem is that you need to be in control of the numbers for averaging if they can’t manage fractions yet… And you can’t do that with foot sizes. After my son took measurements of our feet, I noticed that they would average well with only a general sense of fractions. Plus, we only had 5 measurements. If we had 30, it would seem a little too abstract for most third graders.

      It seems to me that it would only work if the children measured to the nearest half inch. Would that make all of their feet the same size? We had great variance because of the adults (and dog)!

      There are more opportunities in sixth grade for averaging.

      Please visit my new blog at All of my old posts are there, plus a few new ones!

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