The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 3

Notes and Lesson Plans

The Maths of Practical Life: Notes on Measurement
updated May 3, 2021

This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your third grade year. Enjoy!

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Notes on Measurement
for Class 3

The overarching Math topic for the Waldorf Third Grade is "The Maths of Practical Life." This includes Time (Clocks & Calendars), Temperature, Weight, Volume, Linear Measurement, and Money. I always include the Metric System here as well.

Because Waldorf brings things together in a rich, interdisciplinary way you have lots of choices for how to present and practice these math concepts. Often, Time, Temperature, Weight & Volume are combined into a Baking block. You could even create a family cookbook instead of doing a traditional MLB for this block!

Clocks & Calendars can be done as its own block; see my notes at the bottom of this page.

Currency is often done as its own block, but can be put into a block where you are purchasing supplies for a project, like if you are building something for Linear Measurement.

And Linear Measurement is VERY flexible.

It can be combined with the Baking block...

or with the Housebuilding block...

    If you want to put it in Housebuilding and are up for a detailed but beautiful project, I suggest making the Japanese dollhouse (instructions and measurements are given) in Rumer Godden's Miss Happiness and Miss Flower.

or with the Fibers & Clothing block...

or with the Farming & Gardening block!

Of course, you could enjoy practicing Linear Measurement throughout the year and do more than one of these projects!

Other Ideas

Our World as Math Lesson Plans (PDF)
first part for Grade 2, second part for Grade 3
by Laura Kryger and Dr. Nancy Smith

Read first two chapters of Alice in Wonderland (I like the edition illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger) to begin your Linear Measurement studies. If you also have a middle schooler who is studying Latin, pair this with Alicia in Terra Mirabili for a fun challenge!

Suggested poems for Measurement:


I think that Third Grade is the perfect time to teach rounding! It reinforces the place value learned in Second Grade and there are so many fun ways to practice it in the measurement block. Round to the nearest tens, hundreds, hour, half hour, quarter hour, dollar, dime, meter, inch, etc. Don't forget to review rounding again when you introduce Fractions in 4th and Decimals in 5th.

FREE Worksheets for Rounding blog post

Clocks & Calendars can also be done as its own block (in fact, Jamie York suggests this as a second grade math topic). If that's the case, I recommend the following resources:

    The Story of Clocks and Calendars

    by Betsy Maestro

    Also for telling time, read The Sun's Day by Mordecai Gerstein and then have your child make a book showing the clock face (analog) at each time of day and a drawing of something that happens at that time.

    FREE clock face printout for practice drawing in hands

    Ancient Civ. Day 1-3 blog post on making a sand timer

    "The Days of the Week" song by Shea Darian
    Seven Times the Sun book, page 160 and CD, track 42

    another fun option for the days of the week is When the Sky Is Like Lace by Elinor Lander Horwitz

    I think it would make sense to do a little mini block on Time after the final Old Testament Stories block, where you get to the Babylonian Captivity, since the Babylonians had such an influence on our clocks & calendars

      The Babylonians were the ones who divided the day into 24 hours, the hour into 60 minutes, the minute into 60 seconds

      The Babylonians divided the week into seven days, naming them after the sun, the moon, and five bright stars, which were really planets

      The Romans renamed the days after Roman gods (and we then gave those god names to those five planets)

      The Anglo-Saxons kep the idea but replaced some of the weekday names with their own gods; those names came down to us through Old English and thus we still use them today

      Shamash, Sin, Nergal, Nabu, Marduk, Ishtar, Ninurta

      Sol, Luna, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn

      Anglo-Saxon / Old English
      OE Sonnesdaeg > Sun's Day > Sunday
      OE Monesdaeg > Moon's Day > Monday
      OE Tuwresdaeg > Tyr's Day > Tuesday
      OE Wodenesdaeg > (W)odin's Day > Wednesday
      OE Thoresdaeg > Thor's Day > Thursday
      OE Friyasdaeg > Friya's Day > Friday
      OE Saturnesdaeg > Saturn's Day > Saturday

    my Maths of Practical Life: Time very detailed blog post from November 6, 2018

    blank scrapbooking 12 x 12 wall calendar

    Creating a Calendar / Keepsake Art Project
    planning notes for 2017 calendar art

    Notes on Homemade Calendar Activity
    photos of finished 2017 calendar art

    Calendar Making for Third Grade
    planning notes for 2019 calendar art

    I've also done two other calendars, both more scientific. These involved measurement because we were creating a calendar using a scale. One was a scale of time, with each day on the calendar being 13 million years. The art month by month showed how life on Earth evolved from its initial formation to the present day. The other was a scale of depth, and the art month by month showed what lives in the layers of the ocean as you go from the surface to the very bottom of the Mariana Trench. These are more content heavy instead of just the seasonal art, but they are really fun to do!

    "Creep into the Deep" Expo / Museum Walk
    photos of the "Creep into the Deep" 2018 calendar art

    You could also put a Gardening project in with Time! Plant the beautiful Floral Clock Garden from Sunflower Houses: Inspiration from the Garden by Sharon Lovejoy!

Pinterest - Renee Schwartz
My curated collection of visuals! Browse sample main lesson book pages, watercolor paintings, chalkboard drawings, etc. for Measurement.

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