Definitions and Meaning for Future Teachers in Spatial Measurement: Length, Area, and Volume

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of Interdisciplinary STEM Teaching and Learning Conference




U.S. students have consistently demonstrated poor performance in spatial reasoning in standardized testing (e.g., National Assessment of Educational Progress). One possible reason is students' lack of conceptual understanding of measurement concepts (length, area, volume, capacity). This paper describes different ways that mathematics textbooks written for future elementary teachers define meanings of measurement concepts, especially the meaning of measure, area, and the measurement process (generally and for area). We base the analysis of definitions and construction of complete definitions using several definitions of each concept from mathematics textbooks written for future elementary teachers (e.g., Beckmann, 2012; Sowder, Sowder, & Nickerson, 2010). Although not one mathematics textbook provided a complete definition, together the definitions present a detailed and in-depth look at the measurement process and area measurement.