ALEX Lesson Plan


Measuring Weight & Height

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Stephanie Oliver
System: Russellville City
School: Russellville City Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:ALEX Resource Development Summit
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 36230


Measuring Weight & Height


This lesson is part of the Nurse Aide Training or Patient Care Technician Course. Students will be able to proficiently perform height and weight measurement skills as outlined by the Nurse Aide or Patient Care Technician Certification. Students will also understand the importance of assessing and analyzing these measurements. This lesson plan could also be used to teach Course of Study Standard #1 in the Health Science Internship Course.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Health Science
HLS (2015)
Grade: 9-12
Nurse Aide Training
2 ) Identify basic nursing skills related to long term care and demonstrate knowledge and proficiency associated with the skills.

•  Defining the importance of vital signs and demonstrating skills for taking and recording temperature, pulse, respiration, and blood pressure
Examples: Lab Skills - blood pressure, pulse, respiration, radial/apical pulse, temperature-oral, axillary, rectal

•  Demonstrating skills for measuring height and weight, and recognizing the importance of assessing height and weight
Examples: Lab Skills - weight of ambulatory and non-ambulatory patients, floor scale, wheel chair scale, occupied bed scale

•  Identifying steps to maintaining and caring for the resident's environment
Examples: Lab Skills - bedmaking, closed bed, occupied bed

•  Recognizing abnormal changes in elderly body functions and demonstrating steps for reporting findings
•  Defining stages in death and dying and identifying steps associated with caring for the dying resident
Health Science
HLS (2015)
Grade: 9-12
Patient Care Technician
5 ) Monitor and record vital signs and patient assessment utilizing manual and electronic methods.

Examples: blood pressure, pulse, apical pulse, apical-radial deficit, respirations, pulse oximetry, and weight (standing, wheelchair, or bed scales)

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to: 

1. Explain the importance of monitoring and recording height and weight.

2. Apply knowledge and interpret data when monitoring and recording height and weight. 

3. Demonstrate how to monitor and record height and weight.

4. Understand why accurate weight measurements are important.

5. Describe the different ways a patient's weight and height can be obtained.

6. Calculate the patients' Body Mass Index and interpret the results.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

31 to 60 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

The teacher will need the following: access to Height and Weight Videos, Weighing Patient Skills Checklist, Weight Measurement Form, Measuring Height & Weight Quizlet, a Standing Scale, Measuring Height Skills Checklist, Height Measurement Form, Prizes or Candy (optional).

The student will need: Weighing Patient Skills Checklist, Weight Measurement Form, Standing Scale, Measuring Weight Skills Checklist, Weight Measurement Form, and Internet Access. 

Technology Resources Needed:


Overview of the importance of taking weight and height accurately. 

In an adult body, height and weight should be recorded as part screening process on admission.  Accurate body height and weight are required to:

  • Assess and monitor fluid and nutritional status.
  • Calculate safe doses of medication and clinical therapies.
  • Calculate nutritional and fluid requirements so appropriate nutrition plans can be developed.
  • Evaluate the possibility of disease.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness and contributes to some diseases. 

  • If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range.
  • If your BMI is 18.5 to <25, it falls within the normal.
  • If your BMI is 25.0 to <30, it falls within the overweight range.
  • If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.

Optional Activity: If you would like to incorporate this activity, you will need to sign up for a Quizlet account ahead of time. After creating an account, click on the Measuring Height and Weight Quizlet link and select “Live” from the left-hand column.



Start this lesson by discussing the responsibilities of the Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) or Patient Care Technician (PCT) in regards to monitoring height and weight in the clinical setting. Make sure students understand to observe the following guidelines:

  • Some agencies require that a patient wear pajamas or put on a gown, remove shoes or slippers 
  • Ask the patient to empty their bladder before being weighed (patient's wearing diapers should have a clean, dry diaper)
  • Weigh the patient at the same time every day (usually before breakfast)
  • Use the same scale daily
  • Weight is measured in pounds (lbs.) or kilograms (kg)

Show the following videos:

Weighing an Ambulatory Patient

Weighing Patient In Bed

Proper Patient Weighing for Wheelchair Scales

Measuring Height Video

Measuring Height of Bedridden Patient

Sometimes, you will have to measure the height and weight of a patient in the bed. Keep the following in mind:

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the bed scale
  • Use a sling to raise the patient off the bed to determine the weight of a bedridden patient
  • To measure height, lay the patient supine and mark the places where the head and the feet rest, use a measuring tape to measure the distance between the marks
  • To weigh a patient unable to stand, you may use a wheelchair. First, weigh the empty wheelchair. Next, roll the wheelchair with the patient in it onto the scale. You will then subtract the weight of the empty wheelchair to determine the actual weight of the patient. Most long-term care facilities have weighing scales for wheelchairs. 

BMI Indicator:

  • According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a new report indicates that an estimated 42% of Americans will be obese by the year 2030. 
  • The CDC also states that obesity is a matter of life and death. CDC reports that obesity-related illness is the second leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Obesity can take 13 to 20 years off of a person’s life by putting obese people at risk for more than 30 diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.


Next, divide the students into groups of four in the lab. Each student should assess the height and weight of the other students in their group. Students are to record results on a piece of notebook paper and submit for a lab grade. Use the attachments Height Skill Checklist and Weight Skill Checklist for student practice and demonstration. 

(Optional) You may have the students weigh each other with a full bladder the first time. After emptying the bladder, have the students weigh each other again to show the difference an empty bladder would make on the measurement. 


Each student should do a return demonstration on measuring height and weight using another student as the patient. You may use the Height Skill Checklist and Weight Skill Checklist as evaluation tools for this step. Students should use the Measurement form: Height and Measurement Form: Weight to document their answers.





Assessment Strategies

Formative assessment: Have the students use the Measuring Height and Weight Quizlet link to review flashcards on obtaining height and weight and take a quiz to submit for a grade. This quiz will evaluate guidelines for obtaining accurate weight and height measurements and identifying the types of scales and examples of when each type is used. The instructor may also have the students determine the BMI and classify the category as underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. 

Summative assessment: Return Demonstration on monitoring and recording height and weight. To be considered competent students should record the client's height and weight correctly.

Alternate group activity:

Ask students to use their cell phones and go to and join using the code you show on the smartboard (projector screen). As the teacher, you will need to sign up for a Quizlet account ahead of time. After creating an account, click on the Measuring Height and Weight Quizlet link and select “Live” on the left-hand column. After selecting “Live” it will give you a code for the students to use to play the game. You may choose to award a prize for the group that wins the game. If the students struggled with the terms, you may play the game more than once if desired.


Challenge students by having them practice measuring the height of another student in the bed. If you have a hospital bed that calculates, have students weigh each other in the bed. Add pillows, linen, etc. and reweigh to see the difference the extra linen adds to the patient's weight. 


Students needing extra assistance should be paired with a peer or request individual instruction from the Health Science teacher. 

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.