Measurement can be a tricky math concept for many children. Whether comparing length, weight, distance, volume, and more, many early-learners have a hard time understanding the idea of assigning a numerical value to define an object.
When will your child need to use measurement in his everyday world? Where is measurement going to be important in his life? Since these questions will come up again and again for your child, showing him different ways to measure in the real world is a great idea.
What to Do
Step 1: Decide on what to measure.
These could be natural objects in your backyard or the park, such as leaves, sticks, rocks, or flowers. Or, your child could opt to collect items at the beach, such as shells, driftwood, or seaweed.
Step 2: Make a fun activity out of collecting.
You could go on a hunt for specific objects or just take a walk around together to collect fun things you and your child see. Use a basket or a beach bucket to collect the objects. This can be done in an afternoon or over several days.
Step 3: Categorize your collection.
Once the objects are collected, have your child spread them all out and decide the best way to categorize them. It could be by size or weight — whatever category he chooses will help him see the items in different ways.
Step 4: Decide on a measurement.
You can take different measurements. For example, first, you can measure the length of each item and then measure the weight. Narrowing in on one measurement at a time is key.
Step 5: Gather your measurement tools.
Decide what tools you will need to measure the objects. Will you need a ruler, a kitchen scale, a yardstick, measuring tape?
Step 6: Now, measure!
Have your child measure each object and collect the data in a chart, table or notebook. Graph paper can be helpful if needed.
For Further Enrichment
Ask your child probing questions. Here are some things you could ask:
- How do you know which object is longer?
- Can you predict which object will be the heaviest?
- What unit of measurement did you use to measure that object and why?
- Was your prediction correct?
Display the data. Once all the measurement data is collected, have your child figure out the best way to display his findings. This can be a chart of results, a handmade graph (like in the image above), or a digital chart or graph. It could also be done by gluing the objects to a large paper with the measurements drawn next to them. Be creative!
Encourage your child to explore different ways to measure a variety of objects — and most importantly, have fun!
Featured Photo Credit: © kiankhoon/Thinkstock