The week before Winter Break we took a little step back from addition and subtraction to do a short unit on measuring and counting strategies.
This short Investigation started by having the kiddos trace each other's feet. Of course, the kiddos loved this! They worked carefully to trace around their partners' shoes and get an outline of each foot. Then we talked about different ways to the we could measure our feet. I briefly introduced words like perimeter, length, and width as the kiddos made suggestions for measuring around or across the outlines. We eventually decided that we would estimate the area of our feet by filling the outlines of our feet with square inch-tiles and counting the tiles.
As the kiddos arranged and counted their tiles, I walked around and took notes on their strategies. I made suggestions to individuals and partners about how to improve their accuracy and double check their counting. Some of the kiddos counted the tiles as they put them on the outline and again as they took them off. Some of them slid each tile off the outline as they counted it, while others organized their tiles into stacks or piles and counted at the end. After everyone had a completed the task, the kiddos shared their strategies with the class. Then we recorded our total numbers on a chart.
The chart started like this:
Once we had our chart, I posed the question to the kiddos, "is this the easiest way to organize our data?" Our next unit is going to focus heavily on graphing, so I wanted to the kiddos used to the idea of different ways to organize information. The little guys suggested that perhaps we could group the like numbers together. I pushed them further to think about how we could write the numbers to quickly tell what size was the most and least common and which numbers were the biggest and smallest. Eventually, our chart looked like this:
The next day, we tried different materials to measure the area of our feet, such as pennies. This was a great anecdotal assessment of how high the kiddos can count, since most of their outlines held 40+ pennies. After break we will be working on counting, writing, and reading numbers over 100!