Tips for Helping Your Fifth Grader with Measurements in Math Homework

Measurement is a math skill that most fifth graders are required to master. In this country, this process can be especially complex because most kids must learn two distinct systems. Read on to find out how to help your child master metric and U.S. measurements.

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Helping Your Fifth Grader with Measurements

Teaching the Basics

The most difficult aspect of measurement problems tends to be conversions. Regular practice, even when there's no homework, will help your child remember the basic conversion values. Additionally, you might want to create a conversion chart that your child can refer to while completing his or her homework. The basic measurement conversions for the U.S. system that you can teach your child are:

  • 1 foot = 12 inches
  • 1 yard = 3 feet = 36 inches
  • 1 mile = 63,360 inches = 5,280 feet = 1,760 yards

In the metric system, the meter is the basic unit of length. Here are some basic metric conversions:

  • 10 meters = 1 decameter
  • 100 meters = 1 hectometer
  • 1000 meters = 1 kilometer
  • 1/10 of a meter = 1 decimeter
  • 1/100 of a meter = 1 centimeter (cm)
  • 1/1000 of a meter = 1 millimeter (mm)

Using the conversion chart, cover up the measurements and have your child recite them from memory. Quiz your child at a rapid pace using a call and response technique. For example, when you say '10 meters', your fifth grader must respond by saying 'one decameter'.

Teaching Conversion

Measurement conversion between the U.S. and metric systems can be confusing and frustrating to learn. Along with the measurements above, also teach the following conversions:

  • 1 inch = 25.4 millimeters
  • 1 foot = 3.5 decimeters
  • 1 yard = 0.914 meter
  • 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers

After your child can recall these conversions, have him or her measure objects and distances around the house. For example, the length of a couch might be 8 feet. Have your child convert this into inches, then millimeters and decimeters. Because these calculations can be complicated, it's okay for your child to use a calculator; the main idea is make sure that he or she is familiar with converting the units.

Useful Measurement Resources

If your child is struggling with measurements, talk to your child's math teacher to find out exactly what he or she needs. You may consider hiring a private math tutor if it's necessary. The Internet is a solid resource for measurement quizzes, games and worksheets. There are also a number of sites that will complete conversions for your child; however, make sure that he or she doesn't become reliant on them.

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