Friday, March 21, 2014

Measures and Weights!

Recently in Math class, Kindergartners demonstrated creative ways to trace their foot and shoes (or tiger slippers) to make templates.  They then used rulers to measure the length of each and made a comparison between the two lengths.   We found in most cases that the lengths were significantly different but in one case in particular, the measurements were the same length (the sign of a really snug fitting shoe?)   Afterward,  we recorded our data then scouted out a classmate (or two) with the same sized shoe measurement.  We also located a classroom item that measured the same size as our foot.  We found that books, a pencil, and a toy banana measured the same length as some of our feet.
Prior to our lesson, we listened to a story titled How Big is a Foot? by  Rolf Myller and discovered that, depending on the "foot" one could have a conflicting answer to that question.  We then discussed "non-standard measurement."  We "proved" our theory of "non-standard" by attempting to measure the same item using our varying foot sizes and/or "shoed" vs. socked feet.

On another day, 
we talked about "standard measure-ments" such as the measurements we acquired with our rulers the previous day.  We then  concluded that  one  "standard" is that there are 12 inches on a ruler.
We also experimented with converting our ruler length to "yards".  Our next activity  became tricky, however.  We decided to investigate the length of our classroom.   We chose to use a combination of  tape measures (covered more distance), yard sticks (laid flat easily), and rulers (what we were used to) as our "standard" tools.
Kindergartners cooperated with each other to line up measuring tools just so across the room.  We met with a few challenges, however.  We found it a bit difficult to use the flexible properties of a tape measure  and its unpredictable locking mechanisms.  We also had to be careful not to select "meter" sticks instead of yard sticks.  We called all of these problems "limitations" because they all interfered with our ability to acquire accurate data.  After several counts, recounts, conversions, and more counts we  journaled our measurement results and illustrated our findings.

During our activities Kindergartners recalled our visit with architect Mark Stranahan last month and remembered the floor plans and "blue prints" he showed us for our classroom.  We are planning to share our data about our room length  with Mark when they are complete and compare our results with his.  

Our third and fourth "Weights and Measures" activities involved another type of measure-ment.  Ks each mounted a bathroom scale and recorded their individual body weight.   After everyone's data was collected, our class made a human graph by rearranging ourselves and by standing in a straight line with our varying weights "plotted" from lowest to highest.  We also illustrated our balancing scales and showed the sequence of all of the K's weights and problem solved the "mean" weight.  We also attempted weighing items around the classroom that we deemed "heavy" or "light."  We discovered that some items did not register on the scale because of its weight was below one pound.   The graphing lesson was great practice for our Hundreds Chart/100 Cans lesson.  By the way, Kindergartners are super close to (shhh, we actually have  already reached our goal but haven't officially counted all of our cans yet) reaching our 100 can goal for our canned food drive.  We will be venturing out into the community soon (and after the weather breaks and a few more weights and measures activities) to donate our cans to a local food bank.  

Friday, March 14, 2014