Real World Measurement Lesson Ideas: Carpenter’s Cut Game

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, K-3

In this lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 2-7, students will explore authentic contexts for measurement skills. Students will use a free online math game to take on the role of a carpenter who needs to cut planks of wood. Younger students will practice equal grouping in early levels of the game, while older students practice measurement, factoring, division, and algebra as they cut slabs of wood in the advanced game levels. Students then work collaboratively to create math word problems that include real world measurement scenarios.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Apply measurement and other math skills to real-world scenarios in online game play.
  2. Work collaboratively to create and solve word problems that involve authentic contexts.


  • Computers with internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Have students think-pair-share or do a five minute free-write to brainstorm ways measurement skills are used in real life. Encourage students to think of specific examples and consider how measurement is used in various jobs and careers.
  2. Talk about students' ideas. If any students mention careers in architecture or construction, encourage them to elaborate on scenarios in which measurement skills would be needed.
  3. Project the Carpenter's Cut game for the class to see. Explain that students will assist a carpenter who needs to cut planks of wood. Their job is to check the list in the top right hand corner, then move the mouse along the planks and click to cut a board. Emphasize that in the game (as well as in real life), a board cannot be uncut, so it's essential that they measure carefully before making any cuts. You can click "reset level" to clear the screen and display a new task.
  4. After playing the first few rounds together as a class, older students can play on their own or with a partner. You may want to set a timer for approximately 5-15 minutes and challenge students to advance through as many levels as they can. Afterward, talk with students about the math skills they applied during game play. How did their understandings of factoring, the commutative property, division, and equations with variables help them during the game? You can develop student understandings of any of these concepts by showing the related BrainPOP movie and exploring the movie resources.
  5. Invite students to work collaboratively to design math word problems that involve real world scenarios. You may want to specify that the problems involve specific math skills in addition to measurement, or instruct students to create multi-step problems. Students can write their problems on paper, or use applications such as PowerPoint or SMART Notebook software to create an interactive workspace similar to the one in the Carpenter's Cut game.
  6. Have students exchange their problems with another pair of students to check for accuracy. Students can then exchange with other pairs of students and practice solving one another's math problems.
  7. Use the game quiz to assess student learning.

Extension Activity:

Be sure to explore our other Math Games in GameUp!