Monday, May 28, 2012

Measuring Up

Clearly, by the title, I did indeed complete my task for the day.  Of course it's all theoretical and not been class tested- but it's a PLAN, and I'll give it the ol' college try.

So I started out by studying my state objectives, looking at my county objectives, and then looking at what I had available to me in terms of what I already own, what ideas I was given at our last team meeting, Pinterest (but of course!) and my own noggin.  And it turns out, it's pretty basic stuff, this measurement unit.  I think I've been making it harder than necessary for years for no reason.  Additionally, I have a couple of number sense lessons that never got covered in our Investigations curriculum, so I've got to stick that in there as well.

I am challenging myself to do this unit in a small group style, so I had to think about pre-assessments to figure out who knows what for grouping.  This is where our team meeting came in handy, because Fabulous Karen gave us samples of some assessment questions on measurement, mass, capacity, and temperature.  I'm going to do a little chop shop action on the packet and put together the assessment.  I'm also going to add in a measurement question with a "broken ruler" idea I saw SOMEWHERE this weekend, but now can't figure out where, so after I googled it, it took me to this doc broken ruler, which explains the basic principle. You not only give the kids a regular ruler to measure a line with, but also one that is "broken" and begins at a different number.  Will they have the concept that it is not the number on the tick mark that gives the measurement but the number of spaces inbetween.  Should be interesting.

So, after I give the pre-assessment I can use the data to make groups.  I'm aiming for four.  That will give me five kids in a group.  I don't know if the data will agree with me, but we'll see.  Also understanding that I can't just send them off into measurement centers without having given them some tutorials, I'm spending this week doing some lessons on those number sense objectives that haven't been covered yet, and will use those as initial center activities while I take my small groups and give them tutorials in HOW to use each measurement instrument.  Then the following day I will replace one of the number sense centers with a center where they can practice what they learned the day before.

For length, I found a great activity on The Weekly Hive from Pinterest.  The kids have a room scavenger hunt for different paper cut-out worms and record the measurements.  I'm going to go a little "themey" I think and make different size flip flops.  And truth be told- I am feeling almost like going to the dollar store and getting different size ones so they can actually measure the real thing.  We'll see how much motivation I have though when it comes time.  I may end up just drawing one and photocopying it at different ratios and moving forward.  Over a few days I'll hide them in new locations and have them measure them with different units. Standard, metric, and non-standard.  On the fourth day I'll send them out to look for another object the same length as one of the flip flops they draw out of a bag.

Product Details I also have this book and there are three particular measurement activities I'll make with the kids, a rainbow ruler, a snaky ruler, and metric strip sculptures.

For mass, we'll learn in small group how to use a balance scale, and then spend the remaining days practicing by using comparative objects- like I know paper clips are about a gram, and I'll get a pound bag of sugar at the store, etc- and create charts of about how much different items weigh.  At the end of the week, I'll have them bring in two items from home that they feel are about one pound, and less than eight ounces to make a big comparison chart.  I'm also going to link it with a capacity activity we'll do where we make popsicles, so I'll have them weigh liquid vs frozen water to see if there is a difference.

In capacity, I'm going to work with measuring spoons, cups, and then the gallon man idea, plus liter bottles.  In the past, to avoid the water dealio, we've practiced using dry materials like rice and candy- but looking over the standards, they really are talking about water, and I need to be genuine.  To do this- I've planned for a water blitz day where we will do many water activities outside,I'll have to be flexible with the timing so I can do it on a very hot and sunny day so the kids will dry quickly.  But prior to that, in the classroom there is a dry capacity activity in the Quick and Easy Math Art book, where you fill a latex glove with dry beans, and the kids estimate how many beans are in the glove, and then record their guess, and work on filling a glove themselves to test their estimate.  I liked this as an indoor non-messy alternative. Additionally, I can stretch it for a couple of days by changing up the bean size in the glove. We will do one water activity inside though, and that is create popsicles.  We'll use measuring spoons and cups to measure not only the water, but the koolaid mix to create a popsicle in a dixie cup.  We'll link this up with mass by measuring the water in it's liquid state and frozen state to see if there is a difference, and also with the length practice by marking the water line before freezing and after to see if there is a difference.  We'll save the popsicles for hot water blitz day.

I've got the following planned for Water Blitz day- 1) like old fashioned egg and spoon races, we'll relay race with different measuring devices to carry water from one container to another, the first group to fill the four different parts of gallon man wins. 2) I'm also going to get ahold of tub tints  and different non-standard liquid containers for them to investigate how much each on holds.  I'm thinking vases, funky kid cups, weird bottles, etc. I'm just coloring the water to make it seem fun. 3) Also I was thinking about water balloons.  We could see how much it takes to fill them (capacity), weigh them (mass), and then throw them on the sidewalk and measure the splatter (length).  I am hoping that if I set the ground rules we won't have any of them thrown at each other- fingers crossed. and 4) an old field day favorite, the filled sponge relay.  Great big car wash sponge, dipped in bucket at one end, and the kids have to pass it over their head and then through their knees alternating at each kid until it gets to the back of the line and the last kid squeezes what might be left into another bucket.  Then that kid runs to the front of the line and starts the process again.  The kids get SOAKED- which is why it needs to be a hot day.  But this activity can serve a couple of purposes.  One, they can compare how much water they started with, to how much they ended with (subtraction action going on there) and we can also take the temperature of the water before and after the relay to see if there is a difference (which links it up to my last requirement)

Temperature! Aside from the small group tutorial on using and reading a thermometer, I will have them take the temperatures of different areas and compare them.  So far I've thought of the soil in my potted plants- those inside in shade, inside on the window sill, and then outside in shade, and outside in full sun.  We can also take the temperature of our water experiments and games, a glass inside and a glass left outside, and themselves before and after recess and gym.  I'd also like to link this up to weather watching and just keep track of our daily hi and lo, and also look up other countries daily to compare. A few of my kids are traveling this summer, so I think we'll look up those places in particular, and then also China and Egypt and the Tundra just to revisit our old units.

And then it comes down to the final learning product yeah?  At our Team meeting, Fabulous Karen had a Measurement Olympics activity that I'm going to do.  It has paper plate discus, cotton ball shotput, and paper straw javelin throw just to name a few.  Kids make estimates in both standard and metric and record actual vs estimated results.  There's even a handout for medals.  I am going to be looking for some metallic cardstock to run them off on.  I will probably do this event outside, and I want to try to make that ice cream in a ziploc baggie trick, because it's another opportunity to do capacity, and we can weigh it before and after. Then I also came up with a book idea.

Product DetailsI loooooove Loreen Leedy's book Measuring Penny. Actually, I love Loreen Leedy's BOOKS, and I have a goal to OWN THEM ALL, Mwahahahaha! I think she'd be very good as and Author's as Mentors model next year.  Yes, SOLD, I will make it happen.  In the meantime, I was thinking I'd have the kids do the general same experiments but with a stuffed animal from home- but then I decided I'd much rather make it about them.  So here's my plan.  I'm going to call the book- This is Me.  It might turn into a lap book, actually, now that I think about it, but we'll see.  Again, this is all very dependent on  motivation.

First section, Length: I want to take digital pictures of them standing with their arms stretched out and their legs apart- like they would have laid on the ground to have their outline traced.  (And I might still do that part, I haven't decided.) Working with a partner, I will have them use different colors of yarn to cut lengths of to corresponding body parts. Red = Head to toe, Orange = Head: top to chin, Yellow = Torso: neck to hip, Green = arm: shoulder to finger tip, Blue = leg: hip to heel, and Purple = their choice.  They'll have to make a code key and keep the strings in a pouch or envelope for their book.  Then they use the string with rulers to get the precise measurements and record those on the digital picture page. Oooooo text feature! Labeled Diagrams. ~Shiver~ They can also choose a digital picture of a friend to have a comparison, like in the Penny Book.

Build Your Wild Self  Aside from being hilarious, I think this would be fun for the kids to do and then create measurements to go with the creations.Second Section, Weight: I am a bit hesitant on this, because I don't know if it's a swell idea to compare weights- but I was thinking, to make it fun, we could record our actual weight, but make the page about This is How Much I'd Weigh on Mars.  And then there is this awesome website where you Build Yourself Wild , and they could make themselves all weird and print the picture and then put measurements on that picture as well.  That page could be "This is what I'd look like on Mars" .

Third Section, Capacity:  Ok, so I'm really a geek.  I can remember one of the early Star Trek:The Next Generation Episodes where they got attacked by sand.  Yeah- SAND- (I was eating ramen noodles at the time, and my broth was glittering just like the evil sand creatures on TV and it sort of freaked me out, still not all into the ramen so much anymore) and the Sand gets on the translator and says "ugly bags of mostly water" in this mechanical voice.  I actually say this phrase to myself when I'm looking into the mirror brushing my teeth in the morning.  Not because I have self-esteem issues, but because I'm better at making the mechanical voice with the toothbrush in my mouth. Yeah, I know, tangent. Anyhoooooooo- that general percentage is 60%- so take their weight, find 60% of that, and then apply that to capacity.  This page would say I am Mostly water, I'd be this many glasses of {insert favorite drink here} (shame on you, folks that are thinking about appletinis right now!) and then also, we'd have done our popsicle experiment by now, so they could also say "I'd be {this many} popsicles. Totally weird, I know, but it appeals to me specific sense of humor.

Fourth Section, Temperature: We'd put in the data we collected from temperatures before and after recess and gym, and then also I was thinking of a little four square deal where they drew themselves wearing different types of clothing for the temperatures in the four seasons- or four places average temperature at this time of year, like Virginia, China, Guatemala, and Antarctica- or whatever.

Fifth Section, Time: They'd make a general days schedule, we'd also measure shadow lengths at three different times of day,  and I was thinking we could play some Minute to Win It type games to see what they could list that they were capable of doing in 60 seconds.

Sixth Section, Money: What I'd buy with $100 dollars.  I'm afraid I couldn't think of anything more creative for that one.  Unless maybe, we take their waist measurement, and then make a belt out of different coins and then we could say how much money we were around our middle.  Hmmm, dunno.

In the end however, mission accomplished for me.  I made a measurement plan, and I feel like I PYP'd it up. I am hopeful to accomplish it in the classroom, as it seems like an awful lot of fun.  Pictures promised if I am successful. And now, to bed! Biiiig day tomorrow. Tons to do.


  1. It's always difficult to look at a plan in full but you seem to be prepare for the unit. And... that Make Your Wild Self website is too cool! Thanks for sharing!
    A Turn to Learn

    1. I always forget to reply and go straight to the comment box-

      Glad you liked it- that site also has a similar activity where you can mix up different animal parts for the head, legs, torso, and tail. Both are neat in that when you print them, they give you facts about the animal pieces you chose. I am looking forward to this unit- I've just got to get those pre-assessments prepared! Gah. Procrastination rears its ugly head.

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