Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson, Lesson Plan
Lower Primary
  • Centimeters
  • Cl6Lesson
  • Cluster 6
  • Inches
  • Length
  • Measure
  • Measurement
  • Problem
  • Solving
  • Task
  • Unit 6
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs

    Education Standards

    T4T A Bed for a Queen

    T4T  A Bed for a Queen


    This resource is from Tools4NCTeachers.

    In this lesson the students are introduced to measuring length with standard units as they attempt to create a bed for a queen. They will also measure the length of an object in both inches and centimeters.

    Here is a sample from this resource.  Click the attachment to download the entire fully-formatted lesson and support materials.

    A Bed Fit for a Queen:

    An Introduction to Measuring Length

    In this lesson the students are introduced to measuring length with standard units as they attempt to create a bed for a queen. They will also measure the length of an object in both inches and centimeters.


    NC Mathematics Standard:

    Measurement and Data

    NC.2.MD.1 Measure the length of an object in standard units by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.


    Standards for Mathematical Practice:

    1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
    2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

          4.   Model with mathematics.

          5.   Use appropriate tools strategically.


    Student Outcomes:

    • I can explain why it is important to use standard units of measurement.
    • I can identify the vocabulary used with measuring length.
    • I can explain which measurement tool is appropriate to use to measure the length of an object.
    • I can measure the length of an object to the nearest inch or centimeter.


    Math Language:

    What words or phrases do I expect students to talk about during this lesson? standard units, nonstandard units, length, distance, height, width, ruler, yardstick, meter stick, measuring tape, inches, feet, yards, centimeter, meter, leading edge



    • The book How Big is a Foot by Rolf Myller
    • Construction paper for students to trace and cut out their feet (different color for each group, about 6-8 pieces per group)
    • Scissors
    • Measurement Tools: rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, measuring tapes


    Advance Preparation:

    • Sort students into small groups of 3-4 children per group. Each group will need a different color of construction paper.


    Part 1

    Launch: 10 minutes

      • Access prior understanding: Ask students to turn and talk about the following questions: What do you remember about measurement from 1st grade? (how long things are, how tall I am, lining up cars) How did you measure the length of objects in 1st grade? (students will mention a variety of nonstandard units such as paperclips, bears, tiles, etc.).
      • We will use what you already know about measurement to help solve a problem for a king!
      • Bring the students together for an interactive read aloud of How Big is a Foot by Rolf Myller stopping after the Chief Carpenter assigns the task to the apprentice. If you do not have a copy of the book, view the first 2:15 of the video “How Big is a Foot? stopping before we find out that the apprentice has small feet. Pretend that the apprentice came to school and asked you to create the bed and now you are asking them to. Explain that the students will be working in small groups to make the queen’s bed: 6 feet by 3 feet.


    Explore: 10-15 minutes

      • The students will work in small groups to make a “bed” that is 6 feet by 3 feet. They need to trace their feet on the construction paper, cut them out, and arrange them to make a rectangle. (See picture below.) Direct students to think aloud to each other about how they are measuring their feet and then arranging them to outline their bed.
      • As students work, observe:

    The act of measuring. Are they accurately tracing their feet? Are they lining up the feet end to end?

    Their collaboration. Are they listening to their partners? Are they involving the members of the group in placing the feet?

    Their conversations. Are they using vocabulary (feet, length, measure, etc.) related to outlining a bed?

      • When all the groups have made their bed, select students (girls and boys) to act as the queen and physically test the beds. Ask what they think of each bed. Possible responses are: “This bed is too small, I am squished up.” “This bed is the right size, I can stretch my legs out.” “I can only sleep in this bed if I curl up.” “I think that bed is a lot bigger than this bed.”
      • Prompt the class to agree or disagree with or add on to student observations.



    Discuss: 10 minutes

      • Student turn and talk: What did the queen say about each of the beds? What did you notice as the queen lay down on the beds? Allow students to share their observations.
      • Discuss as a group: Why do the beds fit the queen differently if the groups all made beds that are 6 feet by 3 feet?
      • If students do not recognize that the feet are different sizes or that there are inconsistent spaces between the feet use questions and prompts to guide them to these important points.
      • Finish reading the book or watching the video, How Big is a Foot?, and discuss what the characters learned about standard units of measurement. Why is it important to use standard units of measurement?


    Part 2

    Additional Activities (if needed)

    • Each student will use one of the construction paper feet to practice measuring using inches and centimeters.
    • Teacher will model how to line up the zero mark or leading edge of the ruler to measure the length of the construction paper foot to the nearest inch or centimeter.  (If possible use a ruler that is divided into both inches and centimeters.)
    • Students will measure their construction paper foot in inches and centimeters and record the two measurements on the foot. The teacher will model how to abbreviate the unit of measurement to in. or cm.
    • Student turn and talk: What do you notice about the number of inches and centimeters recorded on this foot? Why does it take more centimeters than inches to measure the same object?


    Evaluation of Student Understanding

    • Can students successfully measure using both inches and centimeters?
    • Can students correctly write length of an object including the measurement unit?


    Formal Evaluation/Exit Ticket:

    • 3--2--1 on a sticky note or index card
      • Identify three items that would be measured using a foot ruler.
      • Identify two items that would be measured in centimeters.
      • Identify one reason that it takes more centimeters than inches to measure the same object.


    Meeting the Needs of the Range of Learners



    • Peer or teacher support to measure the length of the object.


    Possible Misconceptions/Suggestions:

    Possible Misconceptions


    Students will think that the beds created by the groups are different sizes because the construction paper feet are lined up differently.

    Hold up several feet from different groups. What do the students notice about the size of the feet when they are next to each other? How would using different sized feet to make the beds impact the sizes of the beds?

    Students may have limited experience with customary and metric measurements and not realize the difference between inches and centimeters (or other units).

    Study the ruler together and measure a pencil, comparing the measurement in both units.

    Students may not know how to line up the ruler/tool appropriately including starting at the 1 or at the edge on a “leading edge” tool.

    Review how to line up the edge or zero mark of the measuring tool with the edge of the object.

    Students may be confused by multiple meaning words such as a foot and a yard.

    Use visuals and body part benchmarks to explain units of measurement.

    Students may confuse or mix together units, such as substituting cm for in. or switching between units when iterating.

    Remind students to read the labels on the tool to see which unit they are using. In the rare case that the units are not labeled, help students select the correct unit using the body benchmarks mentioned in the lesson.