Measure the Volume of a Tree: A Transformative Modeling Lesson on Measurement for Prospective Middle-school Science Teachers

Ji Shen, David F. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Measurement is an essential skill that students need to develop in both mathematics and science classes. However, many students only develop very superficial understanding regarding the nature of measurement. Building upon modeling-based work, we construct a framework that views measurement as a complex set of knowledge and skills one can use to transform a model and/or a referent and their variations and bring them together in a coherent way. We use this framework to guide the design and implementation of a unit on measuring the volume of a tree with two cohorts of prospective teachers of middle grades. With selected examples, we illustrate our framework in terms of the relationship between modeling and measurement. We provide insights on how to design activities that enhance students' in-depth understanding of measurement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-247
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Science Teacher Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Middle grades
  • Modeling
  • Prospective teachers
  • Scientific measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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