10 Hands-On Measurement Activities for Comparing Lengths

10 Hands-On Measurement Activities for Comparing Lengths

Measuring and comparing lengths can be so much fun to teach because there are so many hands-on way to practice! If you’re a 1st grade or 2nd grade teacher looking for ideas for the measuring and comparing lengths skill, this post is for you!

And, if you’re working on estimating measurements, head over to this post for 10 measurement estimation ideas!

10 Comparing Lengths Activities for your Lesson Plans

Measurement Stations: Set up different stations with objects of varying lengths (rulers, strings, pencils, books) and have kids compare and order them from shortest to longest or vice versa. Use any items you have around your classroom!

Scavenger Hunt: Create a scavenger hunt where kids need to find objects of specific lengths or objects longer/shorter than a given reference object. They can measure and compare these objects.

Playdough Snakes: Provide each student with a small amount of playdough. Ask them to roll the playdough into a snake and estimate its length. Then, find the actual measurement. Finally, students can compare the lengths of the playdough snakes with each other!

Guess the Length: This one is sure to be a hit with your students! Place objects in sealed bags or boxes and have students estimate the lengths by feeling the objects. No peeking allowed! After estimating, students can measure and compare their guesses to the actual lengths.

Outdoor Measurement: Take your class outside and have them compare the lengths of objects like leaves, branches, or rocks. Use the playground equipment, too! Students can estimate and measure these objects using measuring tapes, rulers, or yardsticks/meter sticks.

Building Block Towers: Give each student a set of building blocks. Ask them to build towers of different heights. Measure and compare the heights of the different towers.

comparing lengths with playdough snakes
Estimating lengths with body measurement hints

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Art and Measurement: Incorporate measurement into art projects. Provide different lengths of materials (ribbons, pipe cleaners, strings) and ask students to create something using specific length requirements. If you don’t want to do a whole art project, students can compare different lengths of pipe cleaners or strings instead!

Paper Chain Challenge: Organize a group challenge where groups of 2-3 students compete to build the longest paper chain. Give each small group a pair of scissors, tape, and one index card. Using only those supplies, they must build the longest paper chain possible in a set amount of time (probably 10-15 minutes). Once time is up, students will measure and compare the lengths of the paper chains. 

comparing lengths with art supplies

Book Measurement: Choose a variety of books with different sizes. It’s time to pull out one of those big books you have tucked away somewhere, too! Have students measure and compare the lengths of the various books with each other. Be sure to measure the books ahead of time to check the accuracy of the measurements and comparisons.

Measurement Centers: Incorporate more comparing lengths activities into your measurement math centers! In these four comparing lengths centers, students will complete task cards, spinner centers, and more!

You can grab these measurement comparing lengths centers here!

Looking for more measurement activities? Check out 10 Tricks & Measurement Lesson Ideas for Estimating Length!

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