Everyday Mathematics: Grade 1: Nonstandard Linear
Whole Group Launch
“How would you tell someone how far it is across the room, using only your body or part
of your body to describe the distance?”
The body part used is called a unit of measure. The measure or length of the room is the
number of units (marked off end to end) needed to traverse the room.
Why would it be possible for different people to measure the distance accurately and still
get different answers?
Whole Group Activity
Historically, body parts were used to measure how long objects were (the length of the
object). The body part used depended on the length of the object. Short objects were
measured using smaller body parts (units) while larger objects were measured using
longer units. Some body units of measure are given below. Decide which unit to use to
measure each object pointed out by the instructor. One individual will be chosen for each
object to use the chosen body part to measure the object. Record results in the table.
Unit Description Object Measurement
Digit (inch) Width of finger
Yard Nose to finger length
Hand Width of closed hand
Pace Length of 1 stride
Cubit Elbow to finger tip length
Fathom Arm span
Foot Length of foot
Hand span Width of hand with
Small Group Activity
Measure four objects with each team member using a different unit from the table to
measure each object. (Thus, each object will have at least 3 measurements.) Record the
objects and measurements (including the unit used) in the table below. You may use
qualifiers such as about, nearly, a little shorter than, a little longer than, etc.
Object Measurement 1 Measurement 2 Measurement 3 Measurement 4
Why does the same object have such different measurements?
What is the relationship between the length of a unit and the number of units needed to
measure an object?
Find two objects that are taller or longer than your height.
Find two objects approximately the same height or length as your height.
Find two objects that are shorter than your height.