Literature Connection:

poem "One Inch Tall" from the book Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Mathematical Strand:



Students will incorporate their conceptual understandings of proportions to write a creative piece similar to the example poem.

Grade Level:


Lesson Created by:

Shelley Faerber, Susan B. Anthony Middle School, Manhattan, KS.

Lesson Description:


  • copy of the poem "One Inch Tall" by Shel Silverstein

1. Launching the lesson

  1. Read the poem/show copy on overhead or provide copy to students
  2. Discuss what would be encountered if we were all one inch tall in our classroom. What would be an obstacle? What would be fun to do? How would we use different items in the room?

2. Developing the lesson

  1. Measure someone’s height in the room. Transfer any measurement into inches (for example—64 inches). What is the ratio/proportion to an inch? How do we express that in symbols, numbers, and words?( 1 : 64 )
  2. Brainstorm items in the room that are only one inch tall.
  3. Brainstorm items in the room/world that are approximately 64 inches tall?
  4. Now consider what items in the world might be 64 times taller than you?
  5. Your writing assignment today is to write a poem or paragraph where you describe what the sights, sounds, and surroundings of a specific area if you were either 1-inch tall or 64 times taller. You are either extremely small or extremely tall. Make sure your descriptions are true proportionally.

RECAP: You have three very important decisions: 1)Are you small or tall 2) Where are you 3) What would you use and describe the surroundings?

1. Closure/Discussion/Elaboration

  1. Students can share their responses each other.
  2. Discuss different items and if they were described true to their actual proportions

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Copyright 2001 S.Ma.R.T.Books and Kansas State University