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Linear measurement activities for 2nd grade

Hands on Measurement 2nd Grade

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The addition and subtraction heavy hitting are FINALLY over and we’re able to move on to more “fun” concepts like measurement and arrays. It’s like when winter finally gives way to spring. (Or at least I think… here in Fl we don’t really have a “Spring” season.)  Linear measurement is one of my favorite second-grade concepts and I look forward to this unit year after year. Why? HANDS ON! That’s why! This fun and engaging math concept is best explored with hands-on activities. Another reason? It’s easy. I mean after months and months of learning 10 different ways to add and subtract 2 and 3 digit numbers, measuring items around a classroom is a piece of cake! #teachertruth

Linear measurement activities for 2nd grade

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Measurement Prep

Before any unit can have a successful start, this Applicious Teacher makes sure she has all the proper supplies. I’ve found a few class sets of items to be life savers for this unit.


having a class set of rulers is a must for a successful hands on approach to measurement

A must have resource for a successful measurement unit is a class set of rulers. Rulers are not on the standard supply list, so I’ve slowly acquired mine over the past 9 years of teaching. These are from Amazon (affiliate link) and are fairly inexpensive for 36. I keep them in a bucket and when we’re ready, we grab them out.


For this unit, there’s a lot of walking around the classroom, so a clipboard is essential!

class set of clipboards

Click the picture or here to see these on Amazon. These even have a handy-dandy pencil keeper at the top!

Setting the Stage

Now that the supplies are ready to go, it’s time to “set the stage” with the kiddos. Like I said, I like to do almost exclusive hands on activities for this unit, so we have to set some ground rules before ANYONE even touches a ruler!


1. Rulers are for measuring, not sword play or spinning. 

2. Rulers are to be collected at the end of the lesson

3. You get the ruler you get and you don’t throw a fit!

After explaining the rules (and demonstrating what each of them looks like!) of our new measurement tool, I pass out the rulers and we start exploring. First, we look at the size of the ruler and note the numbers on both sides. Then, we discuss how to actually measure using a ruler. I make sure to point out that they should start measuring where the tick marks are on the ruler, not just the beginning of the plastic. I also show my students how to “estimate” the size of an object by how close it is to the number on the ruler.

Measurement Stations

The next day, we were ready to start using the rulers around the classroom, so I set up measurement stations using cards from this unit with random objects from around the room. As students moved from station to station, they measured their object and recorded their answers. Students were allowed to work in teams of two or three.

Some objects we measured:




-classroom door

-apple sticky note dispenser


hands on measurement activities

My favorite was the classroom door. We hadn’t discussed how to measure objects that were bigger than our tool… so students were forced to problem solve!

Only a few groups needed a *little* guidance from me… but this group figured out how to use their hand as a place holder! #Genius! At the end of this activity, we shared our findings as a whole group. I made note of any student that had measurements that were WAY off and pulled them during small group.

Reasonable Estimates

Now that we understood how to measure and about how long a foot and inch really are… we were ready to make some estimates. This is one of those tricky abstract ideas that needs LOTS of support in the concrete, so we completed this part of our unit together as a class using this tri-fold


Under each tab, students had to write or draw objects that fit into each general measurement. Let’s just say I was picking up tons of paper clips and shoving them in students faces when they were making their estimates! We completed similar sheets when we explored feet and yards, and centimeters and meters.

Measurement Word Problems

Of course, this measurement unit also had to include real world word problems using our new found knowledge. We did a few samples together, then I set up a “read the room” activity using word problem task cards to practice

Students could work in pairs, but surprisingly, the majority of my students choose to work alone for this one. Once we were done, I had students sit in groups of 3 and share their answers for each card. They compared answers and worked to make sure that they all matched (and were correct!)

This was a perfect and fun way to practice word problems without sitting at our desks completing a worksheet for the lesson. Later, I assessed students using this sheet.

This was an easy grade! YES!

Measurement Centers

I wanted to make sure I was supporting our measurement skills during our math centers as well, so I had the kiddos work on these monster measurement task cards throughout the week. I even had one student write a few word problems about the monsters! Be still my teacher heart!

These also include an answer key, so students can check whether their answers are correct right away! (PTL!)

Measurement Monsters

At the end of our measurement unit, I knew we had to make a craft, so I pulled out all my paper scraps and let my kids go to town on creating their own monsters!

measurement monster craft

The kiddos went to town! They created a wide varitey of shapes, sizes, and colors!

Then, they used a ruler to measure the different parts of their monster. It was fun and engaging end to our measurement unit.

measurement craft

They looked great hanging in the hallway too! To display them, I simply cut out some large black butcher paper, then, as students finished their monster, I stuck them up there with tape.

measurement activities- measurement monsters. Love this idea for ending a linear measurement unit!


Grab these Measurement Activities for Your Classroom!

Want to grab these activities and tons more printables and hands on measurement fun for your students? Check out this unit on TpT or click the picture below!

linear measurement activities for 2nd grade

measurement activities and lesson plans for second grade

Hi, I'm Leigh.

The Applicious Teacher is all about creating hands-on and engaging lessons that align with the standards while still having time for your life. This is your place for ideas, tips, and resources for the REAL teacher!


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