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Some good analogies please

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I'm working on a nf book for 3rd and 4th graders that includes some measurement figures--such as 60 feet, 150 feet, and 4000 feet (and yes, there'll be metric equivalents included).  I think kids relate to big measurements much better if they have something to compare them to.  Sometimes writers use number of football fields but I don't think that's particularly good for this age.  I've also seen school buses used, but it seems like school buses come in several different lengths these days, so maybe that's not so good?

I would love it if you could please brainstorm and give me some good ideas.

Thanks bushels!
Ev
#1 - August 27, 2009, 03:38 PM

I've also seen #of kids standing on each others' shoulders (I assume they base this on a standard measurement, for example 4 feet).

Really, I think the school bus analogy could work since most are fairly close in size.  As long as it is a "regular" school bus vs. a "short" school bus, I think it's close enough.  It's the same as using the elephant weight analogy.  Not all elephants weigh the same, you know.  But the analogy works anyway.

Good luck!
#2 - August 27, 2009, 03:52 PM

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I'm picturing items that are on a typical school campus that might? be a standard size to use as an analogy . . . a hopscotch outline or 4 ball outline, length of a baseball bat,  volleyball net,  height of a basketball pole,  cafeteria lunch tray,  cafeteria table (these seem to be pretty standard among schools that I've seen),  ruler,  backpack,  desk, etc. 
Good luck! 
#3 - August 27, 2009, 04:47 PM
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Thank you, Elissa and Rebecca, for sharing your ideas about this.  :thankyou
#4 - August 29, 2009, 05:55 AM

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I had to come up with a similar set of measurements for a manuscript I wrote and it wasn't easy.  You have to find things that children will know that have standard sizes--and there aren't many objects that meet both criteria.

A few ideas:

A standard bowling alley is 60 feet long

A mature spruce or fir tree stands about 150 feet high

Niagra Falls on the Canadian side is about 150 feet high

4 1/2 african elephants standing on top of each other would measure 60 feet

1 1/2 blue whales end-to-end measure 150 feet

The Grand Canyon is one mile deep, but maybe you could fudge it.

4000 feet would be equal to 8 washington monuments standing on top of each other (approximately)





#5 - August 29, 2009, 08:47 AM
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What about the length of a swimming pool, length of a tennis court, distance from home plate to second base in baseball, number of vans standing end to end, length of a city block...

Hope these help!

Sara
#6 - August 29, 2009, 02:38 PM
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How about using a movie theater screen? I think an average screen is around 30 feet tall, but the IMAX ones are much bigger.
#7 - August 31, 2009, 09:20 PM
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I've used the school bus analogy in NF writing.  I thougt I'd been original!  :oops
But you can also just google in those measurements and see what comes up if you haven't yet.
Good luck!

Kami
#8 - September 02, 2009, 07:42 AM
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Thanks everybody for your suggestions!!  I really appreciate your help.  :thankyou
#9 - September 07, 2009, 03:35 PM

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