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The Poetry of Science

Global Poetry Connections

Take 5!

What is the ideal prop for this poem? A meterstick or ruler showing metric measurement. Show the prop and then read the poem aloud slowly and clearly.

In sharing the poem aloud again, students can say the key word, ten, each time it occurs in the poem. Cue students by raising both hands, signaling the number 10.

Research together a list of countries that use the metric system for measurement, and talk about how this is one of many tools scientists use around the world.

Measurement is an important component in scientific investigation. It’s part of collecting, recording, and comparing information. Work with students to identify a tool that can approximate a metric unit (a strip of paper, a length of string) and then use it to measure and compare several everyday objects that are handy. Look for a set of printable, cut-out metric rulers (Online Resources).

Match this poem with another on metrics, “Celsius Thermometer” by Renée M. LaTulippe (Online Resources) or follow up with the informational picture book The Metric System by David Adler (Resources).

Meter Stick

by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

It’s a pleasure to measure in meters.

It’s a pleasure to measure because

everything measures in units of ten.

It measures so sweetly.

It does.

Ten centimeters are one decimeter.

Ten decimeters, a meter.



Always by ten.

Measuring couldn’t be neater.

And when I must measure

a plant or a pencil

when I must measure

a scrap of my day

I am connected

to all those who measure

in meters

in countries

so far



Poem © 2014 Amy Ludwig VanDerwater from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong © 2014 Pomelo Books; illustration by Bug Wang from The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for Kids © 2015 Pomelo Books.   


VanDerwater, A. 2014. “Meter Stick” in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science, eds. S. Vardell and J. Wong, 116. Princeton, NJ: Pomelo Books.


Adler, D. 2020. The metric system. New York: Holiday House.

Online Resources

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater website

“Celsius Thermometer” by Renée M. LaTulippe

Vendian Systems Printable metric paper rulers


Instructional Materials Interdisciplinary Literacy Elementary

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