Measurement Conversions Strategies That Will Engage Your Students


Measurement Instruction is a Must

Metric Measurement and Conversions

Weaving in measurement & data standards used to be such a daunting task for me. It seemed as though I was glossing over the units of measurement to keep up with my pacing guides, and my students didn’t have time to fully grasp measurement concepts. One year, I started to spend more time on isolated measurement practice. I began teaching my students new strategies for converting metric and customary units.


I found that introducing the different systems of measurement in different weeks helped to drop some confusion. But the most effective way to teach measurement conversions? Visuals, visuals, visuals.


How I Teach Metric Measurement Conversions

  • Key Vocabulary

  • Hands-on Measuring

  • Guide Students to Make Connections Using Roots

The vocabulary itself requires a bit of memorization through repetition and experience getting hands-on practice. When we learn about converting metric lengths, I start by having students measure things around the room in both centimeters and millimeters. Then they compare and share.


“My pencil is 10 centimeters and 100 millimeters!” This activity gets a discussion started about the relationship between millimeters, centimeters, and meters. Once they get the hang of it, my students can uncover that there are 100 centimeters and 1000 millimeters in a meter. Discussing the roots cent- and milli- further during language only solidifies their understanding. This is translated to liquid capacity measurements in the metric system with the same roots: liters, centiliters, and milliliters.



Real World Measurement Math Task Cards and Activities

How I Teach Customary Measurement Conversions

  • Showcase Liquid Capacity Containers

  • Connect to Customary Vocabulary

  • Gallon Man for Memorization

Of course, we all know the customary system is not quite as intuitive. Customary units do not share the same roots and power of ten patterns. Nope. Inches, feet, and yards have nothing in common with gallons, quarts, pints, and cups.

King Gallon Man for Conversions

I use hands-on activities to help with liquid measurement vocabulary. I take out emptied milk containers to showcase Gallons, Quarts, and Pints. I have a measuring cup to show 1 cup. I use a glass measuring cup to demonstrate filling up each container.


This is so helpful for students to make the connection to the units with actual size. Converting within each measurement can be a little more tricky though.



Gallon Man Measurement Task Cards for Conversions

My go-to resource for these conversions is my Gallon Man bundle. The “Gallon Man” strategy has helped my students (and myself!) grasp liquid measurement conversions. My students love the creative aspects. I include a Gallon Man song with both lyrics and an audio file. The song is super catchy- it will be stuck in your head all week. The included art project is one of my favorites. We draw out Gallon Man together to enforce memorizing the number of quarts, pints, and cups in a gallon. The drawings become a great mini-poster for students to reference as needed.


After we create our Gallon Man, I use some of my liquid measurement conversion worksheets as guided practice. I model referring back to Gallon Man for each question. Then students are off to work independently.


We continue our practice throughout the week using the included task cards. I love to use it as a warm-up activity that students can work in pairs on. The quiz included in this bundle is a great way to assess at the end of the week.


Interested in my Gallon Man Bundle? Watch my preview video here!