Non-Metric Measurements, and Poetry

Photo by ninjapoodles.

Do you and your students have trouble keeping track of those pesky English/American measurements? Here is a great visual showing the relationship between common volumes:

In Honor of National Poetry Month

And here’s another treat I found while browsing:

Which reminds me of one of my favorite poems about math…


by Carl Sandburg

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your head.

Arithmetic tells you how many you lose or win if you know how many you had before you lost or won.

Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven — or five six bundle of sticks.

Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.

Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and you can look out of the window and see the blue sky — or the answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again and see how it comes out this time.

If you take a number and double it and double it again and then double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.

Arithmetic is where you have to multiply — and you carry the multiplication table in your head and hope you won’t lose it.

If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?

If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is better in arithmetic, you or your mother?

5 thoughts on “Non-Metric Measurements, and Poetry

  1. Pints in a Gallon: At my house we make Gallon Guy! A gallon is a full sheet of paper. (Make a face on him w/the G.) Take another piece of paper and fold it into fourths. This is a great visual of the fact that you started with the same amount as a gallon. These all get Q for quart and are stapled/taped onto the Gallon like an arm on either side & two legs at the bottom. Next you take another gallon-sized sheet of paper & fold it into 8 equal pieces. Yes – these get labelled with P for pints. Each arm & leg (Q) gets 2 Pints attached. It’s a great visual that 8 of those (you can add them all up) equals a gallon, and it also shows that there are 2 pints in each quart. The final piece of paper gets folded into 16 equal pieces. These are the Cups (C) – also known as fingers and toes. Attach 2 Cups per Pint. Have them add up all the cups to remember that 16 are in a gallon, each Quart has four cups attached to it, etc. My kids of course give Gallon Guy crazy hair! We make a new one every year & my kids never forget their measurements!

  2. I’ll have to try Gallon Guy — sounds like fun. I’ll have my 3rd-grader make him, but I bet even the teenagers will learn from it!

  3. I’ve seen the abridged version in poetry books, too, but I always wonder why anyone would bother to cut a poem that is already so short. It’s irritating, because that question about the eggs is my favorite part.

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