Measure Up

First grade students create volume measures to demonstrate eqiuality statements.

Now in its fifth year, the Measure Up elementary mathematics research project focuses on developing algebraic thinking through measurement ideas in children as young as first grade. The project is based on the work of Russian psychologists, mathematicians, and educators, and is being developed in collaborations with the Institute of Developmental Psychology and Pedagogy in Krasnyarsk, Russia as well as with other US institutions. The University Laboratory School and Connections Public Charter School in Hilo, Hawai‘i are the research sites for the teaching and learning components of the program which spans grades one through five.

The project continues to attract much attention from teachers, school administrators, mathematics educators, and mathematicians. In 2005, Measure Up classes at University Laboratory School and Connections Public Charter hosted approximately one hundred observers from Hawai‘i DOE schools, national and international universities, and mathematics education professional organizations. Kay Gilliland, past president of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics visited with Measure Up researchers and students and came away “very impressed” with our classes. A team of mathematics educators and mathematicians from the Show- Me Center at the University of Missouri spent a several days observing Measure Up classes and even got involved with the students by giving them challenging problems to solve.

We have seen through hosting many visitors that when people actually see the lessons live, they become believers. When we go out to speak about Measure Up, audiences marvel at the video clips and slides showing student work. But once they’ve been in the classroom, they know that it’s possible for children to engage in algebraic reasoning in younger grades.