Monday, August 22, 2016

Measurement: Mass and Volume

Just realized, before I write about our first day of school, that I didn't finish my notes from our Measurement week over the summer!

On Friday, I introduced two more educational games

Rhyme Out!

Story Starters in a Jar

We finished our handmade books, our mini MLBs, with sections on calendars, clocks, temperature, mass, and volume.

We estimated the mass of items in the house. The first child lined up a handful of items from lightest to heaviest, based on her predications. Then she weighed each item and wrote its name and its mass in grams on a sticky note. We arranged the sticky notes on the chalkboard from lightest to heaviest. Then the second child chose a new household item, compared it to the items already weighed, estimated its weight, wrote the name of the item and her estimate on a sticky note, then weighed it, wrote the mass on the note, and added it to our growing data table. They did this for a long time!

I like to go over the metric stair using the story of LaGrange, ("The Professor Who Did Not Know") from Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians, volume 1. I bought this book on September 2, 2006, according to Amazon, and I have used it countless times since then. I love the image of LaGrange just quietly suggesting from the back of the room that a system with increases and decreases of a decimal place (multiplied by ten, divided by ten) would be so much simpler than multiplying or dividing the base unit by 12! Nothing against the ancient Babylonians, of course.

It is also fun to line containers up by predictions of capacity, then checking by filling them with water or rice (water is more fun) and then rearranging. You can do this with a collection of vases or bottles and jars, but I LOVE my Power Solids! I've had these for over 15 years and they are still holding up with nary a crack.

I think it is important to do mass and volume side by side so that students can see how they are different. As I wrote in a previous post, we bake using the metric system to help students internalize the measurements. The chocolate chip cookie book and recipe are always a favorite! A great book for volume, and SUPER-VINTAGE-FANTASTIC, is

The Duchess Bakes a Cake

This book is published by Purple House Press and from what I understand it was the book that brought them into existence. Purple House Press specializes in bringing long lost favorite children's books back into print. I love that! They also publish the fabulous chapter book

David and the Phoenix

One final note. I got a little bit of a rhyming bug and was coming up with silly sayings to emphasize the prefix in the metric stair. The first was

    Would you measure a horse in grams?
    Goodness no
    A kilogram's the way to go!

Then I altered it slightly to be

    What do you use to weigh a horse?
    You use kilograms of course!
And I thought they could jump and form their bodies into a K. This was silly and fun and I share it in case it works for you!

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