Measurement and the Common Core State Standards

Planning Math Skills Acquisition for Students with Disabilities.

Almost all the important functional math skills fall within the common core state standard category of "measurement." In includes length, area, volume, perimeter, time and money. Certainly understanding operations and being able to use them to solve problems is fundamental. Still, when we spend so much time focusing on math facts, we may ignore the fact that our students lack an understanding of money and time, let alone measure and solve spatial problems.

Basic living requires knowing money and time, but many forms of employment require an ability to measure. Cooking from recipes requires understanding measures of volume, such as cups, pints, quarts and gallons

Basic money and time skills need to be mastered by the end of second grade. (Telling time to the minute is a third grade skill.) If special education students fail to learn these skills, it is unlikely they will ever master them in a general education classroom.

Scope and Sequence

The Common Core State Standards lay out a curriculum as any district or state would, with a "spiral design" in which each level provides skills that will continue to be taught at higher levels. Unfortunately, Common Core State Standards expect time, measurement and money to be mastered early.

Length: Understanding ordering length begins in first grade. It is expected to mostly be mastered by the end of second grade.

It reappears in fifth grade in "conversion" from one unit of measurement to another. This will be critical for middle school science, when they will need to use milliliters, centimeters, etc.

Money: Coin values should be mastered by first grade, but counting coins and using money by the end of second grade.

For students with short term memory issues, moving on before they have mastered the coin values could leave them with life-long challenges.

Time: First graders need to tell time to the half hour. In second grade a child should tell time in five minute intervals: mastery to the minute is a last quarter skill for third grade. Still, many children with disabilities are unable to master telling time, especially if they have not mastered skip counting by 5's and 10's.

The following are the Common Core State Standards concerning the functional math skills you will use. Many districts require aligning your IEP goals to these standards. In order to insert them, choose the standard by dragging your mouse across it, and continue with the key command to copy: Control c. Then insert your cursor where you want the standard, and use the key command to paste: Control v.

Measuring Length

1st Grade

  • 1.MD.1 Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.
  • 1.MD.2 Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps. Limit to contexts where the object being measured is spanned by a whole number of length units with no gaps or overlaps.

    2nd Grade

    • 2. MD.1 Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.
    • 2.MD.2 Measure the length of an object twice, using length units of different lengths for the two measurements; describe how the two measurements relate to the size of the unit chosen.
    • 2.MD.3 Estimate lengths using units of inches, feet, centimeters, and meters.
    • 2.MD.4 Measure to determine how much longer one object is than another, expressing the length difference in terms of a standard length unit.

    5th Grade

    • 5.MD.1 Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.

    Counting Money

    2nd Grade

    • 2.MD.8 Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately.

      This is it. It hardly defines functional money skills, which should include counting mixed coins, making change (counting up) as well as problem solving using coins. This standard is bare bones, and will be useful for writing IEP's, but does not define the scaffolding required to successfully use money in real world situations.


      First Grade

      • 1.MDC.8: Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks.

      2nd Grade

      • 2.MD.C.7: Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m.

      Common Core State Standards only require telling time to the "five minute." Your state (as does Nevada) may continue to use existing standards in the third grade to require telling time to the minute as well as solving lapsed time problems. Unless the state continues to use lapsed time in their high stakes test, it doesn't make sense to spend much time with lapsed time: it is important instead to tell time to the minute.