Today's Topic: the technology of timers
--timers of all kinds (sand/hourglass time from board games at my house, electronic timers and analog timers from the dollar store, loaned others from parents, the clock app on our iPad...)
Book: A minute is a minute / Neasi, Barbara J.
Sadly, I can't find any cover images of this 1988 title online. Granted, the illustrations are quite dated, BUT they're diverse (racially and there's even a child in a wheelchair playing catch with his dog and a frisbee!) and the book is absolutely PERFECT for this class. The basic formula for the book is a list of activities that can make a minute seem really long (waiting for your friend) or really short (flying a kite). After we read the book, in the second class of the day, I set one of the electronic timers for one minute. Then I asked the kids to predict whether they thought a minute was a long time or a short time. Once they'd all voted, I pressed start. That was a verrrrrry long minute, but a perfect demonstration about how long a minute can feel if you're not distracted by something else.
If you can't get your hands on a copy of this gem of a vintage book, try Just a Minute by Yuyi Morales, but you might need to paraphrase it as it's a bit wordy.
The inspiration for this class (or "what I thought kids might do"): Exploring the functionality of timers was actually my own idea and when I tried to search Pinterest for ideas on how to elaborate on that basic concept, I didn't find much. A few good ideas here, but that's about it.
What the kids actually did:
1. tried setting each kind of timer
Adult Challenge of the week: Ask your child to make predictions (I can jump 40 million times in a minute!) then test them together.
Hindsight Tip: Turns out that sitting around and waiting for ANY amount of time to pass does not hold the attention span of 3-4 year olds very well. The elecronic timers, with their beeping and their ability to set them for about 5 seconds were the most popular. If you have the resources, get more of those than the other kinds.
Variations to try:--Try finding some "minute to win it" games and play those while setting the timer for each round.
--Try making a DIY hourglass
--See if you can find some of these "liquid timers" or similar products for something a little different.
Related Apps: Use the clock app! The stopwatch function is an especially nice variant.