Skip to main content


1st Grade Math - Developing Student Understanding of Non-Standard and Standard Measurement

Clip 3/17: Measurement Lesson Part A2


After the first-grade students have worked with a partner to count how many footsteps long a length of tape is, Tracy Sola reconvenes the whole group, observing, “I think it's really interesting that we all got different numbers, because if we're all taking steps on the tape, how come our numbers aren't the same? Why are our numbers not the same?”

Tracy asks the students to turn-and-talk to a partner and share their ideas. The children identify that their feet are different sizes. One student responds that “If you have small feet then you get bigger numbers. … The big feet took a shorter time to get there and the small feet took a longer time to get there than the big feet.”

Teacher Commentary

We were trying to think about, for the same length of tape, if one person had 12 footsteps and the other person had eight footsteps, what did that mean? And several students wanted to say that if you have more footsteps, then your foot is bigger, because there was that more-and-bigger correlation. But that's a counter-intuitive idea, and so, that idea that, if you have bigger feet it takes less footsteps, took a while for the group to come around to. 

When kids are turn-and-talking, it's not time for you to stop and gather your thoughts. Instead, that is the most crucial time to get in there and try to listen to as many things the kids are saying as possible.

Those are those valuable few moments, and then, from what you’ve heard, decide how you’re going to build the next part of your conversation… It's not just a chance for them to talk. It's also a chance for you to gather more information to keep the talk moving in a productive direction.

Materials & Artifacts