Literature Connection:

How Big is a Foot? By Rolf Myller

Mathematical Strand:

Number and Measurement


Number sense with fractions, need for a standard unit of measurement, estimation and reasonableness

Grade Level:

6-8 (SPED)

Lesson Created by:

Natasha Kelly, Fort Riley Middle School, Fort Riley, Kansas

Lesson Description


  • blue and white paper strips (5-6"), paint, yarn, file folder labels, How Big is a Foot? by Rolf Myller, manila envelop

1. Launching the lesson: Students take off right shoe and sock and paint the bottom of their foot. Five footprints heel to toe are made.

2. Developing the lesson:

  1. DAY 1: The footprints are done and hung to dry. Read How Big is a Foot? and ask why the bed is too small. Ask how the apprentice could create the right size bed.
  2. DAY 2: Begin by having students trim their foot strips. Hand out supplies. Students cut a piece of yarn the size of their foot strip. Then cut in half. Use the label to put ½ on one side and initials on other side place one string even to the top of and in middle of label and fold in half over string. Continue ¼, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64. Stress the multiplication of fractions and the pattern and predict the next fraction. Also stress all the ½ strings are not the same. Why? Then estimate the measurements of various objects in the classroom in whole, fraction, and mixed number of foot strips.
  3. DAY 3: Using the foot strips and fraction strings students will accurately measure the objects.

3. Closure/Discussion/Elaboration:

  1. DAY 4-6: The students will then measure their foot strips in feet and inches. All foot strip measurements will be converted to feet and inches. Objects will be measured using a tape measure to compare with the student measurements. Accuracy and reasonableness of their measurements will be investigated. The process can/will be repeated using metric system. Students will complete an activity write up explaining what they did, how they got their answers, and justifying their results.

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