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Using Rods to Teach Measurement


Debra Dennill | Wichita Collegiate School | Wichita, Kansas

The teacher uses rods of different sizes to teach measurement. The students arrange the rods from the shortest to the longest.

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Hello again. This is another way that I teach measurement to my students in my classroom. I am going to use 10 long red rods. These are 10 rectangular rods. They are 10 centimeters in diameter. I will show the contrast to my students first. I’m going to take the shortest rod and I’m going to put it out there. So, this is my shortest rod. Then I’m going to take my longest rod and I’m going to put it down. So, I’m going to tell my students, there is a short rod, and this is a long rod. I’m going to point out the contrast – short, long. I’m going to move my long rod back and move my short rod to the right side. So, I’m going to work from left to right. Why I’m working from left to right is because children learn to read and write from left to right. So, I’m going to find the next shortest rod. On my left to my right. Then the children are going to go and find the next rod. Sometimes I will call on students to come and find the rods for me. And usually they will now again take it off the shelf and place it on the rug. As they are sitting around I’ll say, now can you come around and find the next long rod? And they will look. They have to use their visual perception to see which is, the next long rod. Also, tactile, by touch and feel. And we’re going to go through the rest of the rods. Longest . . . Now sometimes the students are not sure which is longer, and which is shorter, so I asked them, now can you take the ones that you think out of these two, which one you think is the next longest rod? And then they will look at it and measure. And this is how they can measure the rods by seeing the difference. So, this is my next rod. So, they are going to do the next rod. I also teach my students that they need to be very careful when they carry the rods, because they can hurt other students if they carry the wrong way. So, we teach them to carry the rods on the ends of the sides of the rods. At the ends, they have to carry like this. And then that’s my next rod. So, now I have graded my rods from the shortest rod to the longest rod. So, I tell my students, short and then long rods and that’s how they learn to measure. Another extension that I do with these rods is that you can find a rod and you can measure how long is your hand? And they love doing that. Or some of them will take the longer rod and say I am as tall as this rod. And that how they learn measurement as well as it’s exciting for them to measure then. And they love doing that. And I say, let me show you my hand. This rod is the size of the palm of my hand. Can you see fits right in the palm of my hand? So, children learn measurements in several different ways. a good way to learn it is with the rectangular long rods.

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