As a middle school math teacher, I have been having the students take their body measurements for the past two years. They usually stand up against a post, use a whiteboard and sidewalk chalk to mark their height, and then measure themselves. Every month when they measure each other, I have a LEAST one student who exclaims with much dismay, “Oh my GOSH! I SHRUNK – BY TWO INCHES!!” Of course they didn’t shrink, but trying to convince an “eager to grow” middle school student of this fact, especially after they were SO proud the month before of how much they had grown, is almost impossible. And of course, they had charted their imaginary grown spurt the month before – in PEN no less.
There are several errors they make when measuring their height. One, they don’t hold the whiteboard straight, ever. Two, my tape measures are only 60″ long, so they have to hold their finger at 60″, measure the remaining distance, and add the two measures together. Also, their accuracy will depend on whether or not they are standing up against a flat surface. Many times students stand against the whiteboard and measure themselves, then let the tape measure loop around the eraser tray but don’t take off that extra couple of inches gained.
Luckily, I found these very cool Komelon flat shell measuring tapes with adhesive backs at Amazon.com. There are a couple of different brands out there, but these had the best reviews. THEY ARE FABULOUS. They are STEEL, so they can withstand middle school students and will resist pencil markings. They were CRAZY sticky, so they will NOT come off. They were 12 feet high so they went up my entire 8 foot wall! And, they were only about $4 each. I ordered five of them, and hung them on the walls today. I cut off the first 4″ so that I could install them over the baseboards for greater accuracy.
Hopefully, I won’t have any (or at least not MANY) distressed, shrinking middle school students this year! 🙂
On a side note, I woke up to another amazing measurement solution on Pam’s Blog. I had never thought of buying the vinyl ones and hanging them. She is much craftier than I. I love that we both picked the same week to blog about the same thing. I’ll say it again, Twitter blogging math teachers are AMAZING!