sign in

Don’t have an account? Register now.

e-mail address:
  Forgot your password?
Click here to be e-mailed a new password.
Lesson Plans
“How Many Bones Long?” Math Measurement
1st–2nd Grade

CCSS Math/Measurement & Data
  • 1.MD.A.1: Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.
  • 1.MD.A.2: Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps. Limit to contexts where the object being measured is spanned by a whole number of length units with no gaps or overlaps.
  • 2.MD.A.1: Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.

Materials Needed

Read aloud How Big Is a Foot? by Rolf Myller.

Point out that in the story, they measured “feet” to find out what size to make the bed for the queen. Explain that there is a difference between the length of one person’s foot and a foot-long standard unit of measurement. Hold up a 12-inch ruler and say, “In standard measurement, a foot is the same as 12 inches. Do you think your foot is longer or shorter than this ruler?”

Invite a few students to compare their feet to the ruler so that they can see that the ruler is longer. Explain that unlike a foot in standard measurement, people’s feet are different sizes. This is why the king had trouble getting a bed that was the correct size for the queen.

Finally, tell students that they are going to practice measuring things using nonstandard units of measurement.


  1. Invite two students to stand in the front of the room. Ask, “Which person is taller? How do you know?”
  2. Then invite a third student to join them at the front of the room. Ask the questions again, encouraging students to explain their responses.
  3. Reinforce the comparisons by pointing out the students’ heights in relation to each other. For example, “Maya is taller than Jen. Jen is taller than Josie. Therefore, Maya is taller than Josie.”
  4. Have students compare and order the length of items in or around their desks (e.g., a pencil, a pair of scissors, a book) in the same manner. Have them order the items from longest to shortest or shortest to longest.
  5. Show them how to use nonstandard units of measurement (such as area tiles or measuring bones) to measure and compare the lengths of the items. For example, you might show that a pencil measures five area tiles long, and a crayon measures three area tiles long. Since five is greater than three, you know that the pencil is longer than the crayon.
  6. After students measure the objects with area tiles, have them measure the objects using the measuring bones. Are the measurements the same? Why or why not? Discuss how this causes a need for a standard measurement, which is why we use inches.
  7. Finally, show students how to use a ruler to measure the objects to the nearest inch.

Independent Practice

  1. Give each student a “How Many Bones Long?” record sheet and a Measuring Bones template. Instruct them to cut out the bones to use as measuring units. (You may want to precut the bones for younger students.)
  2. Have students use the bones to measure the lengths of the different objects, and instruct them to write the measurements on the record sheet.
  3. As an extension activity, have students measure the objects with a ruler.

Learning Extension

  1. Set up a measurement learning center with our easy-to-use “Big Fish” file folder game!
  2. Print out the student instructions and glue them onto the front of a file folder.
  3. Print out the game board pages, and glue them onto the inside of the folder. Be sure to align them in the folder’s center.
  4. Print out and cut apart the number tiles, ruler, and answer card. Place them in a resealable bag and staple the bag to the back of the folder.
  5. Place the assembled folder game in your measurement learning center for students to enjoy!

View the 1st–2nd grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
Internet Retailer Hot 100 Award Internet Retailer Mobile 100 Award Top 500 Internet Retailer Trustwave Norton Secured PayPal
©2017 Lakeshore Learning Materials. All rights reserved.