Help Build Math Skills: Measuring Wheel

This activity exposes children to various types of measurement and encourages them to use addition and other math skills to determine the sizes of different spaces.

What this activity will develop:
Math and physical skills

What you'll need:
• Large piece of cardboard
• Measuring stick or tape
• Pencil
• Utility knife
• Nail
• Small bolt and nut
• Marker

What to do:
1. Figure out what unit of measure to use (meter, yard, or foot). Cut a cardboard circle using one of the following diameters:
  • Meter 31.9 centimeters
  • Yard 11 3/8 inches
  • Foot 3 3/4 inches

2. Measure a comfortable length for the handle. Cut a narrow strip of cardboard about twice the length of the circle's diameter. Fold the handle in half.

3. Make a small nail hole in the center of the wheel. Make another hole in the open end of the handle.

4. Slip the wheel between the open handle ends. Line up the holes, insert the bolt, and fasten the nut. Make sure the wheel turns easily.

5. Mark a large arrow on the wheel from where the handle is attached to the edge of the circle.

1. Work in partners to measure distances. Begin with the arrow pointing at the ground.

2. While one person holds the handle and rolls the wheel, the other person counts the number of times the arrow touches the ground. For example, to measure the width of a room in meters, start at one end and record the number of times the meter wheel turns while crossing the room.


3. Try measuring a bedroom, the distance from school to the park, or the distance to a friend's house.

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