One of the curriculum goals for mathematics is measuring in non-standard units. So today, we introduced “taller/shorter/the same” to our classroom.
To begin, we used myself (5 ft. tall), my teaching partner (5.5 ft tall) and the EA in our classroom (5.9 ft tall) as our visual cues. The 3 of us stood beside each other and then asked the class who was the shortest and who was the tallest. I also showed them blocks and unifix cube towers to help them visually understand the concepts.
Once I thought the knew what each term meant, I gave a third of our class tongue depressors. I then asked those children to find something in the classroom that was taller than their stick. Once the students found their object, they showed them to the class holding the object beside the tongue depressor and we discussed how the objects were taller than the sticks. Then children then put their “taller” objects away and gave their sticks to the other half of our class. The next third of our class did the same task, only this time, they had to find an object that was “shorter” than the tongue depressors. We repeated showing the items and discussing the concept of “shorter”. We did the same activity with the last third of the class and “the same”.
While I was doing this activity, my teaching partner was writing down her observations for future assessments.
This activity worked as a great introduction to taller/shorter and to measuring things with non-standard units. It got the children involved, so we weren’t just talking to them about it. They were teaching us by finding and showing us the objects.