Teaching Length in FDK

Hi friends!

Today I'm going to post about how I taught measuring length this year.

As always here is the unit plan and lessons outlined for easy planning if you want to follow along with my lessons!  Click on the image to download it as a pdf for free!

I always start my measurement unit by talking about shorter and longer.  

First we introduced the vocabulary short, shorter, long and longer and then completed this chart whole class.

I had strips of construction paper ready and I had the students tear the construction paper into 2 pieces and then tell me which one was shorter and which one was longer.  Then we glued it on to the chart.

During centres I had my students stamp their names on these templates.  I quickly made these in PowerPoint by creating a table with 8 columns (because the longest name in our class was 8 letters) and adjusted the height so that they were squares.  I copy and pasted to have 3-4 tables on a page and then printed, copied and cut so that each student would have a template.

During the lesson we went over our learning goal "We are learning to compare length", talked about what length meant and reviewed our length words short, shorter, long, longer and introduced shortest and longest.

I then put their names in the middle of the carpet and we first grouped them according to how many letters were in their names.

Then I had students tell me which students had the shortest names and we glued it on the chart below.

(Sorry I had to blur the names! I hope you still get the gist of the lesson/activity!)

Then we found the longest name and glued it on the bottom.  we kept filling it in until we had all of the students up on the chart.

On the third day we watched Sid the Science Kid: Exploring Measurement on YouTube and we learned the four measuring rules.

Then the next two days we worked on co-constructing our measuring rules anchor chart for our "measurement tools" section of our interactive math wall.

As we picked the rule to demonstrate, I told them that we were going to do a happy face (good) example and a sad face (bad) example.  They loved this, especially doing the sad face example!

I took the pictures as we made each example, printed them off and then we sorted the pictures and taped them under the rule that it matched the next day.

The kids took turns picking an item to measure and showing the class a good examples and a bad example for each rule :)

On the sixth day we watched Sid the Science Kid: Exploring Measurement on YouTube again...

and then we tried the activities from the video!

First we used the tallest student in our class to measure the width of our classroom.

(Since I don't have any pictures of us doing the activity here is a screen shot from the video.)

and then we figured out who the shortest student in our class was and we traced her body onto butcher paper.  We cut it out, I taped it to a table and it was open as a centre activity for the students to investigate measurement with snap cubes.

(Again, since I don't have any pictures of us doing the activity here is a screen shot from the video.)

As one of the summative assessments we measured our feet! I demonstrated whole group and I worked with the students in small groups to complete this activity.

This little guy really blew me away.  The bears moved while he was writing so the picture doesn't reflect the number well but when he did measure end to end with no spaces there was a little bit of space at the end of his foot.  He said "Well one more bear would be too much but I think maybe half a bear would fit, how do you write 5 and a half?" LOVE! In hind sight though I would have just helped him sound it out in words instead of writing it in highlighter for him since he would have been able to do that!

Here are some of the independent learning centres that were open during this unit:

Play Dough Snakes! We set out green play dough, sequins, googly eyes and pony beads.  The only requirement was that the students make 3 or more play dough snakes and order them from shortest to longest.  I had two types of mats the one you see below and one with just a big rectangle that said "Make 3 or more play dough snakes.  Order them from shortest to longest." for the kids who could order more than 3 :)

After they ordered their snakes they decorated! I encouraged patterning on the snakes with the sequins and beads by setting out my example below.

These were a big hit for a few days and so easy! I just grabbed some paint chips from Home Depot and wrote their names on them with a Sharpie.  Then I cut them to size or taped on an extra spot if they had more than 6 letters in their names to prep them.  The students had fun comparing their names to other friends names and some even worked together to recreate our comparing name lesson and ordered the whole class.

I do recommend laminating these though... they got pretty beaten up really fast!

For those that wanted to I also set out a recording sheet where they could compare their name with a friend's name and record if their friend's name was shorter, the same or longer than their name.

After I assessed for the vocabulary shorter and longer and found out which students needed more practice, my ECE sat with them to do this "Length Hunt" activity as a guided group.  The were each give a popsicle stick and went around the classroom to find things that were bigger than a popsicle stick and smaller than a popsicle stick.  Then they brought the item back to the table and drew a picture of it in the correct spot.  Some even labeled their picture if they could!

They did really well and now we are proud to say that the WHOLE class has a good grasp of the vocabulary shorter and longer ;)

All of the printables you see in this post are in my math unit "Measurement for Kindergarten: Hands-On Centres & Printables"! You can see more details by clicking here or on the images below:

I even have some capacity centres/activities that I plan to use already in there and I will blog about it when I wrap up measurement along with comparing temperature and mass!

That's it from me! Do you have any fun lessons you do for teaching length?


Added 08.11.21

I now have a digital unit for non-standard measurement! If you are a virtual teacher (or a classroom teacher who wants to use the lesson portion whole group/the unit on your SMARTBoard) you can see the details for the unit by clicking here or on the images below:

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