Children work together to explore standard and nonstandard measurement as they hunt for objects that are one-foot long. Later, they’ll work together to create a collaborative story about the items they find.
- 12” ruler
- String or yarn cut to 12”, one per child
- Video recording device (optional)
- Show children the ruler and explain to them that the “foot” is commonly used to measure length in the U.S. Give a few examples of objects that are about one-foot-long (e.g. a book, a computer, a piece of paper).
- Give each child one piece of string.
- Challenge children to work in small groups, moving around the room to search for objects that are about one-foot long. Encourage them to use their string to measure an item’s circumference or length.
- After children have finished gathering objects, discuss them as a group. Work together to sort objects as being shorter, longer, or exactly one foot.
- Support children to tell a story that incorporates the objects they find. If possible, take a video as they work together to act out their collaborative story.
Try these add-on activities:
- Provide pencils, paper, and clipboards so children can write down or draw the objects they find.
- Have children use their own foot as a nonstandard unit of measurement and go on an additional hunt for objects that match that length.
- Encourage children to consider objects that are not just straight (e.g. is your waist about one foot around?) Introduce vocabulary like circumference and diameter.
- Let children make circumference predictions: how long does the yarn need to be in order to wrap around a cup, or how much ribbon will it take to wrap a present? Cut the amount the children guessed, then try it out to see if they were right!
- Challenge children to find 5 objects that are exactly one-foot-long, 5 objects that are shorter, and 5 objects that are longer, using their string as their measure.
- Ask older children to make predictions about the distance in feet from one point (e.g. the door) to another point (e.g. the chalkboard).