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Math: Measurement

Framing Nature With Square Inches


Today's Snack: Lay out nine saltine crackers on a plate, three to a row. With a ruler, measure the height and width. Round off to the nearest inch. Multiply. How many square inches of crackers do you have? Blob a little peanut butter and jelly on each one. Eat! Drink a glass of milk with your _____ (fill in the blank) square inches of crackers - we'll leave measuring the volume of that milk for another day!





Blank picture frame (no glass or inserts)

Ruler | Scratch paper and pencil | Magnifying glass if available



Don't you love nature? It's fun to get outside and study it, up close and personal. Today, we'll combine nature study with a little math measurement exercise for double the learning and fun.


Simply place a blank picture frame onto a spot in your back yard, a park, a playground, a garden, the base of a tree, or anywhere you'd like.


With a ruler, measure the height and width of the inner rectangle of the frame. Round off to the nearest whole inch. Maybe you have a 4" x 6" frame, or an 8" x 10" frame. Write down the two measurements on a piece of scratch paper.


Now figure out how many "square inches" that frame shows. All you do is multiply the height times the width. So if you have a 4" x 6" frame, that's 4 x 6 = 24. That frame shows 24 square inches of space. If you cut out 24 little pieces of paper, each of them 1 inch tall and 1 inch wide, 24 of them would fit inside that frame.


How many square inches of nature does your picture frame show?


Now look closely at the nature within that frame, or use a magnifying glass. Write down on the scratch paper all the things that you can see. Rocks? Pebbles? Dead leaves? A clump of grass blades? Live leaves? Gnats? A cucumber beetle? Dark brown soil? Light tan soil? A roly-poly bug?


See how much neat stuff you can find in every square inch of nature?


By Susan Darst Williams Math 2012

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