Kids love measurement activities… mostly to find out what’s the biggest!
- Who has the biggest book?
- Who made the tallest tower?
- Who is eating the most grapes?
- Who can lift the heaviest object?
Measurement adaptions for early learners
Young children can find it difficult to make some comparisons because their brains are still learning. For eg, if the amount of water in a low, wide glass is the same as in a tall, thin glass they’ll find it difficult to comprehend. They’ll expect the tall glass to hold the most water.
This is perfectly normal. Besides, children won’t mind taking longer to understand volume if it means they get more time to experiment with water or beans and variously sized containers! Just give them lots of play time in the sand pit, at the water table, and with materials such as beans, dry pasta and rice.
It’s tricky to comprehend that something small can be heavier than something big or tall, so again, playing with real objects is the way to get this concept to stick. Comparing obviously different objects such as balloons and oranges is a great idea.
Early learners can think of time in chunks, as in long or short, rather than a specific number of hours or minutes. Crossing off days on a calendar till their birthday works well, as does phrasing time as an easier concept. For eg, it will be time for a snack in the time it takes to a) sing Twinkle Twinkle, b) brush your teeth or c) walk to the park.
Items need to be lined up for little ones to make comparisons. If 2 identical rulers are placed side-by-side but askew, children will generally believe they cannot be equal. Rather than using centimetres or inches at this stage we like to use everyday objects for comparison. For eg, how many pencil lengths is the chair leg or table?
Each month I post an activity that a child can do in less than 3 minutes. They’re excellent for keeping nearby when your children might be milling around having an idle moment, such as when they’re getting ready to head out or waiting for other children in the bathroom. You can find this series of posts here.
This month’s activity is measuring length and kids can enjoy this with only 30 seconds to spare ~ or they can take much longer over it.
For individual or pairs work.
What you need
- One copy of each page.
- Cut out each card and laminate.
- Attach the measurement question cards with a ring to keep them together if you like.
What to do
1. Choose a question card.
2. Read out the question: ‘2 buses equals how many cabs?’
3. Use the transportation pictures to build the equation and find the answer.
4. Say the completed equation out loud: ‘2 buses equals 3 cabs.’
5. If you wish, write the answer with a dry erase marker. This way, children can work independently but an adult can later check their work.
Note: The bus on the question cards is forward facing due to space issues. This may need to be explained to some children.
The measuring length download has 1 page of transportation vehicles: trains, buses, cabs and skateboards. Plus 3 pages of task cards of varying difficulty.
What’s your favourite activity for measuring length? I’d love to have your ideas listed in the comments!
Wishing you happy teaching and learning!