Thursday, 23 April 2015

Exploring Measurement (length) Through Play

For sometime time now it has been our family tradition to measure the height of our children every few months. We have been recording their height, together with the date, on the side of our bookshelf ever since our son could stand on his own. It's fun to see how they much they have grown and to look back at how little our children were.


So recently when we measured our height, my daughter's spent many days afterwards playing with our measuring tapes and rules by finding different items around our home to measure. We have previously explored other math concepts through play such as measuring mass and time so I could see this new interest taking off quickly.  

Introducing Vocabulary
Around the same time as my daughters were interest in measuring length was starting, they were also spending many hours building with blocks. We had set up a little area in our learning room with different types of blocks for them to explore. I could hear them in their play talking about towers being "bigger" and "taller" so I took the opportunity to introduce them to words such as short, medium, tall when referring to both height and length. This happened over a number of days.


Measuring using Non-Standard Units
For early learners, it is suggested that they start exploring length by using non-standard units of measurement such as hand-spans or measuring in foot steps or how many blocks (of the same size) long/high something is. Once my girls were understanding this new measuring length vocabulary, we started looking at how many blocks long/high their block buildings were.


Introducing Units of Measurement
Miss 5 was very eager to start measuring with our ruler. She was already confident with using measurement vocabulary as well as number recognition to one hundred. Having already seen how we measure our height in centimeters, we started with putting our measuring items into a basket and placed it on our learning shelf. This helps give my daughter a place to return the items once she had finished using it and also allowed her to direct her learning.


So while the interest in block building continued, I suggested to my daughter that she measure her tower as she builds it. With every few layers of blocks that were being added she would measure the height of her tower using a ruler and read the numbers shown followed by "centimeters".



My youngest daughter (3 years old) wanted to be involved with the measuring as well. But according to her the block tower was being measured in "kilometers" not centimeters! She is already understanding the idea of why we measure length and height and has plenty of time to learn through play.


If you are looking for more hands-on learning ideas about measurement, hop over to my Maths - Measurement pinterest board.

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