Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tiny Trek gets mathmatical!

A fun way of making the mathmatical concept of measuring accessible for young children.
Supplies: String or yarn and a pair of scissors.
1. Walk around your neighborhood, the local forest or garden in your area and measure the perimeter of the tree trunks at your child's level using yarn.
2. Pick any tree for your first tree and have your child or children bring the string all the way around the tree until both pieces meet. Cut the string at the meeting point.
3. Now look around and ask your child to find a tree with what they think is a smaller trunk. Measure that tree and compare the sizes of the string.
4. Continue to find smaller and larger trees. Sometimes you will be surprised that you are not always able to judge the size by just looking at the tree.
Remember this is the beginning of teaching the concept of bigger and smaller in a concrete way for young children. If you have older kids with you feel free to then use standard measurement tools such as a measuring tape and talk about inches, feet and yards or cm and meters.

Here is how we incorporated this concept in our Tiny Treks class today, however this is a wonderful activity for all ages in any weather to get outside and do.

Today in Tiny Treks the overarching question was "How big are things in nature and can we measure them?" This led to other questions such as "Which things in nature are bigger?" "Which are smaller?" "How big around is a tree?" In order to answer some of these questions we measured tree trunks with yarn and then looked for tree trunks that were bigger or smaller than the original tree. We also measured pine cones, ferns, feathers and small branches with yarn then used the yarn to hang them onto sticks and made mobiles. The kids had such fun holding both ends of the yarn and walking around trees to see which tree was the biggest! Sometimes we were suprised that one tree was bigger than the next. The kids were so proud of their mobiles and carried them carefully on their way out. I teach this class again on friday and will post photos of some of the mobiles this friday!

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