House Creek Elementary students measure up to math lesson
Special to the Leader-Press
Measurement is one of the most important math skills--not only in math class, but in daily life. People compare and measure things all the time in natural and spontaneous ways. Whenever objects or items are counted, they are being measured. But sometimes it’s hard to see that this process is measurement because the unit, the thing being counted, isn’t obvious. These early understandings of measurement are foundational for children’s later math learning in school.
House Creek Elementary kindergarten teachers Vanessa Mondy and Kristen Utsey helped students visualize how they are constantly measuring things even if they do not realize it.
“Students were introduced to the terms ‘taller than’ and ‘shorter than’ and we modeled several items of what it means to be taller and what it means to be shorter. I showed the students a chart that would categorize items that are taller and items that are shorter,” Mondy said. “Students were then given 10 unfix cubes. They were tasked with the job of comparing objects that are taller than and shorter than the stick of cubes. Students walked around the room and compared several objects against their unfix sticks. They then detailed their findings on their recording sheets.”
Mondy and Utsey discussed with students about the reasons a person needs to know how to measure. New vocabulary was introduced to understand comparison language. The importance of lining up endpoints was discussed so students received accurate measurements of their items.
“Students loved going around the room measuring items and comparing them against their unfix sticks. Every student was engaged and loved sharing their findings with me, as well as each other,” Mondy said. “Sometimes, everyone wanted to measure the same items in the room at the same time. I encouraged everyone to come back when the item was available and to choose a variety of objects around the room so that we could share our findings with each other.”
On the students’ recording sheets, pictures of the objects measured against were required to be drawn along with the number of cubes they were compared against. Students were challenged on how to draw certain items and felt a bit frustrated when they were not able draw it as they liked.
“Look, Mrs. Mondy,” said kindergartener Kinsleigh Keller. “The cubes are taller than the timer.”
Despite the concept of measurement being new to the students, they quickly engaged in the lesson, shrieking and giggling as they went around the room finding items to measure including each other and even their hands and feet.
“This is so much fun,” said kindergartener Lucas Rios. “I love measuring.”