Any Nook or Cranny

By Rosalind Allen, December 3, 2009

Grade Level

  • Elementary School


  • Architecture

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

250 minutes for classroom activities


Measurement can be a difficult subject for young students to understand. Even older elementary students have difficulty understanding scale and estimating size. This activity will provide a practical purpose to use measurement, and will provide relevance as well as practice while using standard measurement tools.

National Standards


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate their understanding of how to measure using standard tools
  • demonstrate their understanding of skills necessary for problem solving and working cooperatively in a group
  • understand how art and design can be used to express ideas




  • yardsticks or meter sticks
  • rulers
  • tape measures
  • bulletin board paper or butcher paper (for making large outlines)
  • paper
  • pencils
  • crayons
  • markers
  • scissors
  • modeling clay
  • Play-Doh
  • construction paper
  • cardboard


  • nook: corner or hidden secluded spot, especially in a large room
  • three dimensional: to have height, width, and depth


Day 1:

1. Review measurement with students.

2. Review standard measuring tools such as rulers, yardsticks, and tape measures.

3. Give students the opportunity to practice measuring objects in the classroom using standard tools.

4. Explain to students that they will work in groups to design a reading nook in the classroom. Tell them that they will need to decide upon a place in the classroom that is away from classroom traffic, or provide a way to make sure classroom traffic does not go through the reading nook.

5. Tell them they will need to use measurement to figure out how many students can fit comfortably in the area, what equipment or other items can fit into the area, and how large the reading nook can reasonably be considering the overall size of the classroom.

6. Give students an opportunity to discuss what these challenges mean and to discuss ideas.

Day 2:

1. Depending on class size, divide the students into groups of three or four. Tell them that they will need to discuss ideas and can sketch out their ideas. Remind them that they will need to listen to ideas as well as share their own, and that they will need to work together to come up with a solution and a design. Explain that at the end of the week they will present their ideas to the class and will need to provide a sketch or three dimensional form to represent their designs. Remind them that they will need to work together to decide how they will present the design and what they will say.

2. Explain they will need to measure a student actually using the nook in order to determine how many can fit. For instance, if the students will be sitting or lying on the floor, they will need to measure a student in each position. If the students will be sitting at a table or in chairs, they will need to measure these objects. Tell them they may transfer the measurements onto bulletin board paper (butcher paper or any other large paper) to see what the size actually looks like and how it will fit into the area they’ve chosen.

3. Tell them the reading nook needs to be attractive and comfortable, and that they can decorate the nook and should include that in their design.

4. Give the students time to get into their groups and begin discussing, recording and/or sketching their ideas. Mo nitor students to make sure they are listening and exchanging ideas. Provide guidance if necessary.

Day 3:

1. Let students begin the process of designing their reading nook including measurement. Provide all materials for measurement and design. Provide assistance where necessary. Remind students that they will need to present their ideas to the class and that they should begin sketching out the presentation or creating a three dimensional representation of their design.

Day 4:

1. Allow students to finish up their designs and their presentation to the class. Monitor each group making sure all members of the group understand that they will need to share the responsibility of presenting. Provide guidance if necessary.

Day 5:

1. Let students present their designs to the class. Provide time for students to ask each group questions about their designs and how the challenges of designing a reading nook were met.


I would evaluate how accurate the measurement was in relation to the challenge. Would the reading nook reasonably fit in the classroom? Would it reasonably accommodate the number of children the design team said it would? Also, I would evaluate each team on how they collaborated on the design and presentation.

Enrichment Extension Activities

For enrichment, students could decide upon a problem or need in the school or community and design a solution. For instance, they might determine if there is a need for a playground, an art center, a place for activity during recess on rainy days (a place to watch movies), etc.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.