Investigating Nonstandard Measurement

investigating measurementWe had a brilliant inquiry planned where kids would go outside and we would measure their shadows. Somehow we forgot two things: 1) it is fall and 2) we’re in Scandinavia.  The sun was completely hidden behind clouds which is probably where it will be for the foreseeable future.  So we had to switch up our plan.

I crafted a story about how a long time ago people used to get around by riding horses.  (Side note: We took a vote and PYP1 would still prefer horses to cars.)  To get an idea of how tall a horse was they would measure it with their hands.  I picked a student in the class and showed how I could put my hands end over end to measure her.  PYP 1 thought this was a brillant way to measure.  I then asked the smallest child in the class to come up and measure the same student with their hands.  The predictable result was that our measurements did not match.  PYP 1 revised their previous opinion and wondered how we could ever know how tall this child really was.   

nonstandard measurementWe debated about measuring with things in our classroom.  Pencils were picked but none of our pencils were the same size.  While they were thinking about this, I showed them a Sid the Science Kid clip.  After the clip which talks about nonstandard forms of measurement they were sure that they knew what to do.  

They took everything that they could find in our classroom that had a standard size. (Dominoes, white board markers, popsicle sticks, math cubes, etc) and started measuring each other and every surface they could find.  Today we just let them explore and tomorrow we’ll try the activity again and try to write down the data we find.  We still need to reflect on why using a unit that is always the same matters, but they’ve picked up the conceptual understanding that you need units, what they are and how they work.  (PYP Key Concepts: Form and Function)kindergarten measurement PYP

Jenny (banner)