Lesson 4

Metric Conversion and Division by Powers of Ten

Lesson Purpose

The purpose of this lesson is for students to convert from a smaller metric length unit to a larger unit using a context of track and field. Students observe patterns when different numbers are divided by 10, 100, or 1,000.

Lesson Narrative

In this lesson, students extend their understanding of metric length conversions. In the previous lesson, students converted from a larger unit to a smaller unit, often resulting in very large numbers because they multiplied by powers of 10. In this lesson, students convert from a smaller unit to a larger unit, resulting in a smaller number, and sometimes, a decimal. Students notice how the digits in a number shift to the right when dividing by powers of 10 and consequently whole numbers often become decimals (MP7).
  • Representation

Learning Goals

Teacher Facing

  • Convert metric lengths from a smaller unit to a larger unit.
  • Recognize and explain patterns in the placement of the decimal point when a decimal is divided by a power of 10.

Student Facing

  • Let’s convert units.

Required Preparation

CCSS Standards


Lesson Timeline

Warm-up 10 min
Activity 1 15 min
Activity 2 15 min
Lesson Synthesis 10 min
Cool-down 5 min

Teacher Reflection Questions

If you were to teach this lesson over again, what would you do differently? How would your proposed changes support student learning?

Suggested Centers

  • Would You Rather? (2–5), Stage 2: Compare to Smaller Units (Supporting)
  • Compare (1–5), Stage 5: Fractions (Supporting)

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