Statue of Liberty Math and Measurement

No trip to New York City is complete without a trip to see the Statue of Liberty.

So, as part of our virtual trip, we let the Statue of Liberty inspire a fun math experiment.

The question we tried to answer: how many Lizzies (or AJs) would it take to be as tall as Lady Liberty? To find out, we had to do some Statue of Liberty math.

Play with measurement and nonstandard units with this fun Statue of Liberty math activity. It's a fun addition to an American symbols unit.

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Learn about the Statue of Liberty

We began with a simple book, Statue of Liberty by Lynda Sorensen, to learn all about this famous American symbol. (Note: this book is unfortunately out of print. The Statue of Liberty by Lloyd G. Douglas would be a good substitute.)

We learned about when it was built and how it was shipped to America. We learned about what it represents.

But, most importantly to this experiment, we also learned how tall it is: 305 feet. I got out the calculator and translated it into inches: 3660 inches tall. Then I measured each girl in inches.

Play with measurement and nonstandard units with this fun Statue of Liberty math activity. It's a fun addition to an American symbols unit.

Statue of Liberty Math Activity

Next, using a roll of brown wrapping paper, we made a scale model of the Statue of Liberty at 36.6 inches.

Now it was time to measure.

We talked a bit about nonstandard units of measurement, because we weren’t going to use a ruler to measure. We were going to use ourselves. I made tiny squares to stand for each of the girls. (And when I say tiny, they were less than 1/2/”!)

Play with measurement and nonstandard units with this fun Statue of Liberty math activity. It's a fun addition to an American symbols unit.

I showed the girls how to measure with their squares. We laid it down, drew a line along the top, and then placed the square on top of that line. They moved up and up and up until they reached the top.

When we were done, we counted our spaces. Lizzie topped off at 62, and AJ at 64. They were wowed!

Play with measurement and nonstandard units with this fun Statue of Liberty math activity. It's a fun addition to an American symbols unit.

But were we correct?

Well, I’ll admit I expected we were not. The girls at 3 and 5 weren’t exactly precise. But, they did their best and definitely learned a lot. They were able to better visualize just how tall the Statue of Liberty is and they learned a fun lesson in nonstandard units of measurement.

How far off were we? About 10 units for each girl. Not bad for a preschooler and a Kindergartner using tiny pieces of paper! I think the next time we use nonstandard units, we’ll try measuring with our full bodies!

Have you ever measured with nonstandard units? Give it a try with this Statue of Liberty math activity.

You may also enjoy one of these New York City inspired activities:

Cityscape Printmaking

Statue of Liberty Dress-Up Kit

Subway Acrostic Poetry

New York City Books and Resources

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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her at Better Than Homework where she shares fun learning activities or Creative Family Fun where she shares art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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