It started with my friend wanting to know what the “middle” of something was. This is the kind of opportunity that as an educator I live for. We talked about it and we “eyeballed” it but something wasn’t quite satisfying him. I brought out a tape measure to help. The tape measure allowed us to explore a number of basic concepts. This measuring for “half” allowed for some simple addition to be introduced.
This initial interest by one child sparked the interest in many children and soon they were all negotiating taking turns using the tape measure to measure everything they could find on our playground. The initial idea of finding the middle was lost by the group but all this measuring allowed for great opportunities to count and to introduce measurement vocabulary words. We also talked a lot about what was “longest and what was “shortest”.
For the younger children in our class I provoked a size activity using leaves on our playground. Some of our friends really got into the idea of putting them in order according to their size. We asked the question, “which is bigger?” , “which is smaller”? We “compared” the leaves and found that some were the “same” or very “similar” in size. Sometimes it was hard figuring out where the leaf should go.
All in all it turned out to be a great way to introduce some new vocabulary and get the younger children in our class thinking about “size” all while enjoying a beautiful chilly day on our December playground.