Paper Bag Skits: Using Size and Measurement

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Put the math of measurement, numbers, and everyday life into improvisational skits. Each group of learners gets a paper bag with two objects, a reference or non-fiction book, a ruler, and index cards on which you’ve written a number of a measurement. Groups have 10 minutes to make up a skit using everything in the bag — including at least one interesting measurement fact and one disagreement about sizes. Then, they perform their skits for the group. Vary the level of difficulty by varying what’s on the index cards and the level of challenge of the book. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • paper bags
  • objects (e.g., penny, hat)
  • books that include measurement facts (e.g., size of animals)
  • rulers (6” or 12”)
  • index cards


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
      • Systems
    • Number and Operations
      • Number Systems
    • Representation

Informal Categories

  • Performing Arts


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Mixing in Math


  • , © 2010, TERC, Inc., MA., 2010

Funding Source:

  • NSF, ESI-0406675 and DRL-0713537