by Stuart Murphy (Math Start)
illustrated by Julia Gorton
On a sunny beach day, three friends enter a sand castle
contest to see who can build
the deepest moat, the tallest tower, and the
longest wall. During
the competition, the friends try to see who is winning by measuring
their castles with feet, shovels, and spoons.
They think they have figured out the winners, but then the lifeguard takes the final measurements and they realize they were all
wrong! Luckily, Larry is able to explain about using standard
measurements and how using people's feet and shovels and spoons can
all vary "but an inch is always an inch." We think this simple Math Start title is great for very
basic measurement lessons. :)
Level: K-Gr. 1 DRA Level: 18 Lexile Measure: 410L
Grade Level Equiv: 1.7 Guided Reading: K
a peek inside the
book---to show you the illustration style and give you an idea of the
amount of text on a page. The first spread shows Larry the Lifeguard
talking to the kids about the sand castle building contest. The page
just below that shows one of the contestants trying to see if her sand
castle is the biggest. At this point in the book, she and her friend do
realize that their measurements are off because their feet are
different sizes. Later, Lifeguard
Larry takes accurate measurements and explains why spoons and shovels
and human feet aren't as reliable as our standard system of
On his website, the author provides some suggestions for additional activities to help deepen the students' learning, such as:
-"Pick distances around the house or classroom and measure them using 'baby steps' and 'giant steps.' Is the hallway more baby steps or giant steps long? Are there more baby steps or giant steps between the couch and the computer? "
-"Have friends take turns lying down on the floor and measuring each other from head to toe using straws, and then a ruler. Make a chart that shows the length of each person in terms of different units of measurement."
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This book is one of the MathStart series books. We LOVE the MathStart series. The stories are funny and cute...and SO effective for teaching the specific math concept being targeted. You can learn more about this great series of books by clicking on the book covers below or the link above.
Or see other books on our page of best books for teaching measurement