Students build their competencies in measurement, relating multiplication to the conversion of measurement units and exploring strategies for solving measurement problems.
In this unit, students relate multiplication, particularly their understanding of “times as many” developed throughout Grade 4, to the conversion of measurement units. Students will also solve word problems involving measurement and measurement conversion.
In previous grades, students have worked with many of the metric and customary units (2.MD.1—6, 3.MD.1—2). They’ve noticed the relationship between some units to help them understand various measurement benchmarks but have not yet done any unit conversions. Not only does this unit build on measurement work from previous grades, but it also relies on myriad skills and understanding developed throughout Grade 4. As the Progressions state, “relating units within the metric system is another opportunity to think about place value” (Progressions for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics, K5 Geometric Measurement, p. 20). Further, “students also combine competencies from different domains as they solve measurement problems using all four arithmetic operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division” (Progressions for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics, K5 Geometric Measurement, p. 20). Lastly, as directly stated in the language of 4.MD.2, students will convert units and solve problems involving fraction and decimal numbers. Thus, while the unit focuses on supporting cluster standards, their instruction enhances much of the major work of the grade, including place value (4.NBT.A), arithmetic operations (4.NBT.B), word problems (4.OA.A), and fractions (including decimal fractions) (4.NF).
As NCTM’s position statement on the metric system states, “Students need to develop an understanding of metric units and their relationships, as well as fluency in applying the metric system to realworld situations. Because some nonmetric units of measure are common in particular contexts, students need to develop familiarity with multiple systems of measure, including metric and customary systems and their relationships" (The Metric System, NCTM). Thus, students will explore both metric and customary systems of measurement, starting with unit conversions from larger to smaller metric units in Topic A, and then similarly with customary units in Topic B. Then, in Topic C, students deal with more complex cases of fractional and decimal unit conversions. At the end of each topic, students apply their new learning in the context of solving multistep word problems involving unit conversions.
The unit provides rich opportunities for students to engage with the mathematical practice standards. As the Progressions state, “relating units within the traditional system provides an opportunity to engage in mathematical practices, especially ‘look for and make use of structure’ (MP.7) and ‘look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning’ (MP.8)” (Progressions for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics, K5 Geometric Measurement, p. 20). Further, when students solve word problems that involve unit conversions, they "may use tape or number line diagrams for solving such problems (MP.1)" (Progressions for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics, K5 Geometric Measurement, p. 20).
As mentioned previously, the unit summarizes and applies much of the major work of the grade in the fresh context of measurement, serving as a nice culmination for the year. But, the unit not only looks back on the year in review, it also prepares students for work in future grades, including the very direct link to converting from smaller units to larger ones in Grade 5 (5.MD.1) and also to ratios and proportions in the middle grades (6.RP.1) as well as many other areas to come.
Pacing: 14 instructional days (12 lessons, 1 flex day, 1 assessment day)
For guidance on adjusting the pacing for the 20202021 school year due to school closures, see our 4th Grade Scope and Sequence Recommended Adjustments.
This assessment accompanies Unit 8 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
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Twocolumn table 

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metric unit
metric system of measurement
customary unit
customary system of measurement
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View Preview4.MD.A.1
4.MD.A.2
Express metric length measurements in terms of a smaller unit, recording measurement equivalents in a twocolumn table. Solve onestep word problems that require metric length unit conversion.
4.MD.A.1
4.MD.A.2
Express metric mass and capacity measurements in terms of a smaller unit, recording measurement equivalents in a twocolumn table. Solve onestep word problems that require metric mass or capacity unit conversion.
4.MD.A.1
Know and relate metric units to place value units in order to express measurements in different units.
4.MD.A.2
Solve multistep word problems that requires metric unit conversions of length, mass, and capacity.
4.MD.A.1
4.MD.A.2
Express customary length measurements in terms of a smaller unit, recording measurement equivalents in a twocolumn table. Solve onestep word problems that require customary length unit conversion.
4.MD.A.1
4.MD.A.2
Express customary weight measurements in terms of a smaller unit, recording measurement equivalents in a twocolumn table. Solve onestep word problems that require customary weight unit conversion.
4.MD.A.1
4.MD.A.2
Express customary capacity measurements in terms of a smaller unit, recording measurement equivalents in a twocolumn table. Solve onestep word problems that require customary capacity unit conversion.
4.MD.A.1
4.MD.A.2
Express time measurements in terms of a smaller unit, recording measurement equivalents in a twocolumn table. Solve onestep word problems that require time unit conversion.
4.MD.A.2
Solve multistep word problems involving conversion of customary units of length, weight, capacity, and time.
Key: Major Cluster Supporting Cluster Additional Cluster
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