Do you ever find that those are some kids who just can’t seem to get a skill after the millionth time you have practiced it? This was definitely me a few weeks ago.
We were struggling with measurement conversions because they had little understanding of measurement and little to no knowledge of relative sizes of the unit. They just did not know when to multiply and when to divide to convert. We had worked on other strategies such as make a list and draw a visual. But we were getting into larger amounts and they needed to really move into writing equations to convert.
I just happened to walk into the other 5th grade teacher’s room and discover she was having the same problem. She shared with me something she had just tried that day. I changed it up a little and tried it on my kids. VOILA! They were converting correctly. I made up this poster to have them glue in their interactive notebooks to remind them up the steps.
24 inches = ? feet
12 inches = 1 foot
The students then use this information very strategically to determine whether multiplication or division is needed to solve the equivalency problem. I think this strategy works because it puts in steps what proficient students do internally. Also it forces the students to really stop and think about the units and how to convert them.
This poster also works great in an interactive notebook.
If you need printables to practice measurement conversions, I have a Measurement Conversion printable pack that includes 25 pages of conversions, whole numbers, decimals, and fractions are included (and separated so you can differentiate as needed).
What tips or tricks do you use to teach your kids to convert measurements? (Especially when that pacing guide is calling your name and you don’t have time to re-teach the background from 4th grade!)