Many students in the United Students and England have grown up with the English units of measurement, which uses inches and feet. Because many scientific and international measurements use the metric system, it is important for students to feel comfortable converting between the two systems of measurement. Playing metric conversion games with them can help them do just that.
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In this conversion game, students should first estimate a certain distance in metric units, such as the distance between the ceiling and the floor of the classroom. Each student should write down a guess, and then measure the distance and call out the answer - in English units. Students must then convert the actual measurement to a metric unit and see how close their estimate was. Ask students to stand up if their estimates were within 10 centimetres of the correct answer. Then have the standing students compare their answers.
Repeat this activity with several different distances, such as the height of the teacher's desk, the length of the classroom, or the width of the radiator. Students' estimates should keep on getting closer and closer to the correct answer.
Metric Scavenger Hunt
In this unique scavenger hunt, students have to use their conversion skills to find objects that match up with a list of given metric measurements. Make the measurements different - anything from 4 meters down to 2 centimetres. To make sure that students will need to convert their measurements, give each student a ruler that only has inches on it. (Alternatively, students can make their own "rulers" by marking the edge of a paper with inch marks.) Allow students to round their measurements to the nearest inch or centimetre. If possible, allow students to look for objects in a large area, such as the playground or the lunchroom, to increase the number of objects they can measure. Students must write down the object next to the appropriate measurement. The first student to complete the entire list of metric measurements wins, but all students should attempt to complete the list.
How Tall Are You In...
This game can teach students how to convert between different metric units, as well as between English and metric units. The students should all measure their own heights in English units using a tape measure or a ruler, and each student should write down her height on a piece of paper. Then students should line themselves up in height order by comparing their pieces of paper.
While they are in that line, they should convert their heights to meters and centimetres. Then have them each hold up a paper with the converted measurement on it, and walk down the line reading them off to ensure that they are still in order.
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