Category: Teaching Measurement

Measuring Noah’s Rainbow Arc

Have your class make a homemade Noah’s arc.  You will need creative materials:

a ruler

a tetra pack or other recycled container that floats

sticky pine pitch or an eco-friendly sealant

other thoughtful decorative creative materials

In the bible, Noah is instructed to make an arc large enough and strong enough to fit a lot of animals and to last in the flood that is to come.  The name Noah is noted as “comforter”:  Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.  (Blue Letter Bible; Genesis 6:14)…And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.  (Blue Letter Bible Genesis 6:15.  A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.  (Genesis 6:16) (This passage could either be 4 stories in Height in its description, or 3, depending how it is interpreted – is the lower basement floor considered to be counted as a floor.  The passage in Genesis (Genesis 6:15) says that God instructed Noah to build the Arc in these dimensions using Cubits.  The cubit is an ancient unit based on the forearm length from the tip of the middle finger to the bottom of the elbow.  The estimate varies depending on which version of a biblical text one reads.  Approximately 17.5-20.6 inches (  What in Today’s world can be compared with The Length of Noah’s Arc about 450 Feet Long?  a Baseball Field; a 7 story Building.  There would be 3-4 stories of height (including the lower) and a giraffe would have to fit (approximately and up to 15-18 feet)!  How tall is a giraffe?

Cubits Answer:

300 Cubits = 450’ L

50 Cubits = 75 ‘ W

30 Cubits = 45 ‘ H

where L = Length

           W = Width

           H = Height

Metric Conversion (where 1 inch – 2.5 cm):

L   300mm = 30cm

W 50 mm = 5cm

H 30 mm = 3 cm

Have your class find homemade materials from the recycle bucket or pieces of materials that your folks have no need for, and make a miniature version of the arc as it is described.  Fashion a window 18 inches from the roof, and make a door.

Rainbow Covenant (Genesis 9:11-16… And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth….And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:…And I shall set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth….


(Photo Here)

Our homemade prototype turned out to be 12 inches x 1 inch x 1.5inches, with a window just under the top, and it floats!  Have fun decorating your Arc as you would be living it for 150 days before the waters receded.  Pine Tar is a term for what is called “Pitch”.   It can act as a sealer for the bottom of your arc, but be careful as it is sticky stuff!  Have fun!

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Learning Measurement in Elementary Math

Are you finished administering the same old paper and pencil tests to your students? Instead, why don’t you allow you students to demonstrate what they have learned? Here is a great way to assess your students’ learning with measurement units, using performance assessment.

We find that it is easiest to set the desks up in a circle so that students can move clockwise and there is no confusion as to where to move next. Use large index cards to number the problems and describe the task the student must complete while at that desk. A different problem is presented at each desk. Use a numbered index card to clearly indicate the problem number. (See Figure 1 for an example.)

Figure 1          Task 7

Record The Value of The Five Coins

Students start at their own desk, recording the answer for that problem. All students will start on a different number. It may be helpful to provide young students a numbered table to record their answers. I find it is helpful to have students put a star on the number problem that is set up at their desk so they start recording answers in the correct box. (See figure 2 for an example).

Here is an example of the types of problems that can be used in this assessment. The materials needed at each desk are indicated in the parentheses.

Desk 1 – (coins) Record the value of the five coins.

Desk 2 – (clock) Record the time shown on the clock.

Desk 3 – (pencil, ruler) Measure the length of a pencil to the nearest half-inch.

Desk 4 – (calendar) Record the date of the second Wednesday in March.

Desk 5 – (apple, scale, gram weights) Find the weight of the apple to the nearest gram.

Desk 6 – (clock) Identify the time on the clock. What time was it 15 minutes earlier?

Desk 7 – (calendar) Today’s date is highlighted on the calendar. Marie’s birthday is in 12 days. What is the date of Marie’s birthday?

Desk 8 – (blackboard eraser, ruler) Measure the length of the eraser to the nearest centimeter.

Desk 9 – (clock) Charles started his homework at 3:45. He worked for 20 minutes. What time was it when he finished his homework?

Desk 10 – (1-inch squares and an outline of a large rectangle) Lay the squares on the rectangle to determine the area of the rectangle. Remember to label your answer with square inches.

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