Jun 25, 2014

WonderWorks: Measuring Size (Math)

Is it bigger, smaller, shorter, taller?

After a bit of a hiatus for some family leave, I'm back!  Let's dive back in to WonderWorks.

Today's Topic: Measuring (a math skill)
a variety of measuring tools (rulers, yard sticks, measuring tapes, etc.)
a variety of small, similarly-sized objects (paperclips, pennies, washers, pony beads, etc.)
a variety of things to measure (books, shoes, paper, carpets, whatever)

  cover art How big were dinosaurs? / Judge, Lita

 We were lucky enough to be able to partner with the UW Geology Museum for part of this summer's WonderWorks series, so I got some incredible resources loaned from them for this week's class.  In addition to the supplies listed above, I also had access to some Cuisenaire Rods (borrowed from a homeschooling friend--here's a printable workbook with some fun activities) and some replica fossils.  For our large motor activity, I printed out the triceratops footprint from this website and let the kids all stand inside the print together.

What Kids Did:
with adult assistance, some actually measured a few of the objects, but that wasn't the main goal for the day 

kids also did some comparative measuring (how many washers long is this block?)
 and then continued the lovely pattern they'd started:
 Or just got rid of the block and made a nice pattern with the washers:
 Or just combined ALL of the small objects to make an awesome piece of art about "round things"
 The Cuisenaire Rods were fun to make designs with, both free-hand
 And ones based on pre-printed pictures.  Here's a Brachiosaurus!

 And my biggest fan of the building blocks found a way to incorporate measuring into his favorite activity!
 Although they weren't originally at the same station, it was quickly discovered that the comparative measuring could be done to the dinosaur bones as well!
 And the rulers...
 But the most fun of all?  Playing with the tape measures.
 This surveyor's tape measure on loan from the Geology Museum (similar to this) with it's extra long length and crank handle to retract the tape was a huge favorite.

 But the sewing tape measure was also a really fun tail to run around with!
 Adult Challenge of the week:  Encourage your kids to try out their own ideas (and don't worry if they aren't interested in measuring things exactly!).  At this age, measuring is more about the concepts of bigger/smaller, shorter/longer than about exactness.  Here's a great video explaining more about teaching measurement to this age group.

Hindsight Tip:  Even if you don't have Cuisenaire Rods or dinosaur bones, the kids really loved playing with the tape measures of all kids and arranging the pennies and other small objects.  Simpler might have been better here as this was our first session of the summer and the kids were very excited to be in the class!

Variations to try: 
--Measure with yarn (how big are you?  How big is your mom?  Who is bigger?  What if you combined your height with your baby brother's height?  Would that be the same size as your mom?)
--Compare the lengths of different parts of your body.  Which is longer--your hand or your foot?  Your hand or your face?  Your arm span or your height?  Your thumb or your pinky?

Related Apps: Curious Ruler by Curious Hat (highly recommended!)

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