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Geometer’s Sketchpad is used in this lesson to compare lengths and weights of common classroom items


Computers & Internet, Math  


2, 3, 4, 5  

Title – Length, Weight and Geometer’s Sketchpad

By – Theresa Robichaud

Primary Subject – Math

Secondary Subjects – Computers / Internet

Grade Level – 2-5


    This lesson uses a hands-on approach (Geometer’s Sketchpad) to distinguish lengths and weights through comparison.


    1. M.P.00.05 – Compare length and weight of objects by comparing to different objects and use terms such as shorter, longer, taller, lighter, and heavier.

Learning Resources and Materials:

  • black/whiteboard and writing implement
  • computers with Geometer’s Sketchpad on them
  • various small common classroom
  • items, loose leaf paper and
  • a kitchen scale.

Development of Lesson:


      The day before the lesson plan, have the class work on getting familiar with Sketchpad and learn how to do simple functions such as make segments, and shapes (such as rectangles), as well as how to take measurements of things. Watch the students closely and take note on those who seem to have a good grasp on how to use Sketchpad.


      Begin by telling the class that they did such a great job with Sketchpad the day before that today they are going to it to use it as part of their math lesson. Then start with the Sketchpad portion of the lesson by assigning the students into either pairs or groups of three.

      Next, have each group use their Sketchpad to make three rectangles. After the rectangles are completed, have the groups measure the heights of each of the rectangles and mark them 1-3 in red from shortest to tallest. Next, have the students measure the widths of each of the rectangles and mark them 1-3 in blue from smallest to widest.

      Talk with the class about their findings, about the measurements of rectangles, and how the aspect being measured can change whether something is the smallest, largest or in-between.

      Next, in group number order, have each member in each group choose an object (such as an eraser or small box of crayons). Have the groups take turns weighing their items on the kitchen scale and writing their group number along with their items and the weight of each of their items on the board. Once all of the groups are done, have everyone take out a piece of paper, and for each group, list the items chosen from lightest to heaviest. Lastly, have everyone compare answers and collect the papers so that you can see who has a good hold on the concept.


      When assigning groups make sure that each group has at least one student that you noted the day prior as having a good grasp on Sketchpad so that they can help out the other students if need be. Also while the groups are working on Sketchpad make sure to walk around the room and checkout each group’s progress periodically so that you can help any group that may be having trouble.

      Using the student’s responses on their quizzes as well and their responses and participation during the discussion on lengths, you should be able to determine how well the students understand the benchmark. A willingness to participate in the discussion as well as 80 percent or better on the quiz is a good mark to aim for.

      Lastly, if Sketchpad is not available in your school, the first part of the lesson can be done using plain sheets of paper and a ruler. However, if you are able to, I would recommend the Sketchpad version because it helps to make learning more fun, which makes the experience more memorable.


      Both the discussion on length as well as the quiz about weights will help the students reflect on what they learned.

      When deciding about future curriculum decisions, I will take into account the students responses on their quizzes about weight and their responses and participation during our discussion about lengths to see if the lesson plan succeeded in teaching the benchmark. Also, I will consider the student’s opinions on how they liked the lesson plan and if they would like to do future lesson plans that use Sketchpad.


Theresa Robichaud


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