I don't know if you have ever had a classroom full of kids who just didn't seem to get the concept of standard measurement, but I did. The usual activities just didn't seem to click because they were only measuring for the sake of writing an answer. What to do; what to do?
Well, with the assistance of my handy-dandy, super-helpful helper, I came up with the perfect idea. I searched the Internet until I found free, kid-friendly birdhouse plans. We used these plans.
Each student received one pine board that was 5 feet long by 1 inch thick by 6 inches wide. Using a yard stick, each child measured out the 6 sides of the birdhouse. I checked their measurements. If they were wrong, we talked about why and they remeasured. I checked again.
As each child finished his or her measurements successfully, they went outside, to cut their wood. With the assistance of my helper, they used the miter saw to cut their own boards. After cutting, they sanded the pieces.
Cutting the wood took place in our makeshift work station. Careful directions and close observation made this a positive experience. They also used a drill to cut an opening in the front panel. Then they put them together, following the directions. The birdhouses have a hinge so they can be opened and cleaned out once the birds are gone.
After sanding the birdhouses, they were painted. Not only were they excited to take their birdhouses home, but they also had a better understanding of measurement, including how to use a measurement tool and why exact measurements are important.