**How Many Feet Is 3.5 Meters** – This post comes from our friend and colleague Kathy Minas, 4th grade teacher at PS 158 and string enthusiast.

Recently, our Grade 4 team met with Kara Im, Co-Director and Math at City Developer staff who has been working with our school for many years. We wanted to figure out how to represent Common Core Grade 4 measurement standards and conversions using strings. What follows is a string we designed together and my notes on how to convey it to children.

**Fast Read**show

## How Many Feet Is 3.5 Meters

This series aims to introduce students to conversions using the most common units of measurement, inches and feet. We want to make sure students have a familiar model that captures the relationship. (twelve to one) between these units. Which brings us to using the ratio table. Our students have worked with ratio tables before in both multiplication and division units. Models enable them to express and maintain relationships between known entities to easily multiply, divide, divide, or combine groups.

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Changing the measurements in a ratio table can also help students verify the validity of their answers. It also encourages them to notice the relationships between different entities. Instead of memorizing whether they need to multiply or divide feet to get inches. They just rely on the relationship that’s on the table that we build together. In fact students have more flexibility about how to convert. And don’t rely on memorized rules or fancy memory systems to solve these problems.

We create a ratio table with the class. Instead of highlighting the entire ratio table at once. We add the values one by one to the ratio table. which is getting more and more complicated and ask students to determine the corresponding number of inches or feet. Some values are added to the ratio table as students describe their process.

Create a ratio table and add the number of columns, number of inches, and number of feet. Having a 12 inch ruler to look and feel is also helpful now.

Since we know that there are 12 inches in 1 foot, how many inches are there in 3 feet? how do you know?

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Note: To avoid further logic in the ratio table. Also known as double addition or “lump”, I intentionally did not record the unit rate of 12 inches in 1 foot on the table.

I push students from associative reasoning to multiple reasoning in ratio tables. You may want to ask students to imagine three feet. “What does it look like? What does this remind you of?”

The fourth graders in my class (and sports enthusiasts) immediately suggested the backyard unit. So I added it as the third column in the ratio table and made some notes.

I leave the yard column blank for most of the lines about his unique contribution. But then we come back to reasons about this third entity later in this column.

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Follow-up question, “How many yards are there in 72 inches or 6 feet? How do you know?”

Once we are done using the toe and toe sections of the string. We manage yards. We return to the relationship between feet and yards. I ask the students to reflect

If we know that there are 3 feet in a yard and we only have 1 foot, what fraction of the whole yard will we have?

If we have 2 feet, do we have a whole yard? What part of the whole garden do we have?

## How Many Feet Are In 5 Meters?

Use what you know about the relationship between feet and yards. And what do you know about fractions, if we have 5 feet, how many yards do we have?

When a big idea or key strategy is revealed. My colleagues and I started annotating string posters. See and hear these ideas for kids I listen carefully to students to participate. We write and display so that every child can share their ideas and be accessible. Even if that hasn’t happened yet. Sometimes, when the students are ready, I encourage the children to understand the general meaning that allows us to go beyond the given string. Examples of related annotation exercises for other quantities and relations are given below:

I am a K-12 math educator and design thinker. Based in New York City I also enjoy writing and designing with teachers about ongoing and “hard” problems in teaching and learning projects. Mathematics View all posts by Kara Imm

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