Making a Yardstick - 5th grade edition

Create a yardstick and measure the volume of the classroom
Maker Mindset

Students will complete the yardstick challenge in which they make their own yardsticks and use them to measure the volume of the classroom. Through the challenge and 2 follow-up lessons, the mathematical purpose is greater understanding of linear, area, and volume measurement, understanding the concept of volume, and solving unit conversion problems within the same measurement system (5.MD.A.1, 5.MD.5(b)). They will engage in mathematical practices 5 (appropriate tools) and 6 (attending to precision).

Building a maker mindset (link)

Other mathematical purposes: decomposition of numbers, Write and interpret numerical expressions (5.OA.A.1 and 5.OA.A.2): 11/2 = 5.5, 8.5-5.5 = 3, 3*2 = 6.

Prior Experience

Measuring, addition, subtraction of fractions within ½ or ¼. Some experience with volume of a solid as the number of unit cubes that fit into the solid without gaps and overlaps.

Materials For This Cycle

Blank yardstick or meterstick



8 ½ in by 11 inch paper


Teacher observations

Check for understanding