Weighing and exploring acorns in preschool

It seems we have more than our share of acorns on the ground around here so collecting and using acorns for math and other content areas in our classroom is a given…

 

We filled our alphabet jars with acorns this week then set them out for the children to explore. At this table, the children used their fine motor skills and tweezers to explore the acorns…

Each week, as the year progresses, the children will find something new in the alphabet jars – this week it was acorns…

As the children used tweezers to explore the acorns, I learned that the type of tweezer you choose to set out for any given activity needs to be carefully considered…

Some tweezers are better for small objects and some are better for larger objects.  I have several different types of tweezers and depending on what the activity is, I am finding that I often have to change out the type of tweezers so the process is more doable for the children…

Later in our morning, the children spent time weighing and counting and writing as they explored the acorns…

I set out a basket of acorns, scales, pencils, clipboards, and paper…

As the children played with the acorns and other supplies, we talked about how the scales have numbers on them and how the numbers on the scales go up or down depending on how heavy things are…

I also drew simple graphing type lines of some of our pieces of paper. The children used the graph paper to record “data” as they explored the acorns…

And the children sorted and counted acorns on the graph as well…

But the biggest part of this process was not the exploration of acorns but the exploration of scales. The children had to figure out how to get the cups or bowls to balance on each type of scale, how to read the numbers on the scales, what the scales do, how to make the scales go up or down, and all of this was done by letting the children freely manipulate and explore the acorns and scales and dropping by at times to answer questions or facilitate conversation…

The discovery table was a busy place all throughout our center time with children exploring and examining the materials they were given to use…

Available on Amazon

 

By | September 17th, 2012|Categories: Mathematics, Science and Nature|Tags: , , , , , , |13 Comments

Measuring play dough inchworms

We spent a little time exploring inchworms this week. Of course, you can’t explore inchworms without first reading the book” Inch by Inch” by Leo Lionni.  To extend the book into our play we did a little play dough inchworm measuring…

I made little rulers for my students to use. They are not an exact measurement but they got the idea across and each child got to take their rulers home at the end of the day. I just love play dough – it can be used for so many things! Just the fine motor strengthening that takes place alone is a great thing…

Our inchworms all measured out to be much longer than one inch!

And this is the world’s longest inchworm but unfortunately, we didn’t get around to measuring it so you just have to take my word that it is the world’s longest inchworm…

And after all the inchworm rolling and measuring, the children decided to use my measuring spoons to make prints in the play dough.  I don’t know how we ended up there but I guess they were still working with measuring tools so we headed down a new path of learning all in one session!

By | November 2nd, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes, Children's Books|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Exploring measuring tools in preschool

We have been exploring the use of measuring and cooking tools in our prek class. The children loved using the measuring tools to scoop up dried beans…

Beans have a wonderful quality to them. They feel smooth to the touch which invites hands on exploration…

As the children explored the beans, we were able to talk more about our measuring tools which included measuring cups, measuring spoons, and measuring scales…

Later in the day, we played a short measuring tool sorting game. We sorted our measuring tools by size and used terms like 1/2 cup and 1/3 cup and 1/4 cup…

Then we dumped them all into the water table for a little more measuring cup play…

It was quite the day for exploring our measuring tools!

By | September 17th, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes, Mathematics|Tags: , , , , , |8 Comments

Measuring and mixing with a dash of new vocabulary in preschool

After reading “Blueberries for Sal,” we became “bakers” as one of my students observed and our little bakers made some blueberry muffins…

We explored different kinds of measuring tools and cooking terms as we worked together to make our blueberry muffins…

Our bakers took turns measuring and pouring in the different ingredients…

Cooking presents such a great opportunity to introduce math, language, and new vocabulary…

As we worked to measure and mix, we used words like ingredients, recipe, oil, eggs, thick, smooth, dry, moist, oven, measuring cups, measuring spoons, preheat, 400 degrees, 1/2 cup, 1 tablespoon, and the list goes on..

The ability to mix up all of these ingredients and scoop the mix into paper cups required quite a bit of fine motor work as well…

No reason to waste good blueberry juice. We saved our blueberry juice and added a little blueberry art into our day…

The children used the juice to make blueberry pie drawings…

We used cotton swabs to draw with since the blueberry juice would stain our hands…

Exploring spring sensory play with preschoolers

When I fill a sensory table, I usually have everything already in it that I think the children would like to play with but today, I just set out set out different items for Tristan to choose from…

I set out a basket of rocks, some colorful green rice, a pile  of plastic bugs, paint brushes, plastic laundry lids (for cups), and a set of scales…

Tristan poured the rice in the sensory table first…

Then Tristan chose one bug from the pile and some paint brushes to add to the table….

For the longest time, Tristan simply covered the bug up completely with rice then used the paint brush to brush the rice off of the bug….

When Tristan wasn’t covering up the bug he just sat and ran the rice through his fingers or sprinkled the rice around the bug…

Sensory play can be a very relaxing or soothing experience if you have the right combinations of items available. I think rice is very soothing to run your fingers through.

After Tristan played a bit, he got tired of standing and asked if he could go get a chair. I suggested we just place the sensory table (bin) on the floor and Tristan was happy with this idea…

Later, Tristan decided to add the rocks, one laundry cup, and the scales to the sensory table too…

 

Tristan’s play graduated naturally from focusing on the feel and texture of the rice, to exploring the bugs, to exploring the rocks and scales. In all, I think Tristan played for about an hour while I worked on preparing my boxes for Friday’s post.  I know it looks like I just stood there taking photos the whole time, but because Tristan’s play was so deliberate and he stayed there so long, I was able to go back and forth during that time and get photos along the way…

Other links for sensory..

Colorful Rice you can make

Simple Sensory Table

The value of scooping and pouring..

Rocks and a Scale from Brick by Brick

And check out this sensory post I wrote

By | May 5th, 2011|Categories: Science and Nature, Sensory Play|Tags: , , , , , |8 Comments

Exploring weight and size with scales in preschool

There are all kinds of simple scales you can provide for inviting children to explore weight. Set out a set of scales along with a variety of items for the children to explore and compare…

The bowls on the top of these scales come off which allows the children to easily fill the bowls then balance the bowls back on the scales and it also allows for the weighing of larger items like the fruit shown here…

The dial on the face of the scale allows the children to view the weight of the bowls or in this case the fruit that is inside the bowls…

Notice that this type of scale is best for measuring larger or heavier items.  I wanted to use these scales for weighing easter eggs, but it takes quite a few easter eggs to make the dial move as this scale identifies pounds better than ounces….

So I added some jelly beans inside the eggs and decided the children could weigh jelly beans and plastic eggs…

Scales are a terrific addition to a math or science center. Scales allow opportunity for young children to compare, predict, count, and measure.

Check out this measuring activity too!

By | April 21st, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes|Tags: , , , , , , |6 Comments

Is this flower taller or shorter than a preschooler?

I happen to stop by this classroom and the teacher had a very tall paper flower sitting out on a table…

The children were very excited about this flower so to build on their enthusiasm, we decided to see who (or which) was taller – the flower or the child…

 

All the children hurried up to lay down on the ground so I could place the flower next to them and oh my, you would have thought this was the most exciting thing ever!!

The children had made their own construction paper flowers earlier in the day so this big flower was something that they were very excited about too…

After we all took a turn comparing flower to child – the teacher sang the seed song.

The seed begins in the garden, tiny and small...

It happens to be one of my favorites….

But then it grows and grows and grows - big and tall!

Books from Amazon

 

By | April 12th, 2011|Categories: Mathematics|Tags: , , , , |12 Comments

Measuring the short and long of it in preschool

During circle time, these children explored the concept of longer and shorter…

The teacher selected two children at a time to go and select an object from the room and bring it back to the circle. The two objects were then placed side by side so the children could determine which was longer and which was shorter…

The teacher helped the children understand that when they compare the items to see which is longer and which is shorter, they needed to first make sure the two items were lined up at the bottom…

I noticed later, when the children played with blocks, that they carried over their learning as they also measured their blocks before building their tall towers. They are starting to understand that if the tower is going to stand, the blocks need to be equal on both sides or it will fall over…

Isn’t it exciting to see how concepts can be explored and reinforced through their play?

Links to more…

Exploring measuring tools in preschool from Teach Preschool

Introduction to a ruler from Tot School

Using rulers from A Little Learning for Two

Measure it from Walking by the Way

Benefits of building blocks from Fun with Mama

Clip boards in the block center from Brick by Brick

By | March 29th, 2011|Categories: Mathematics|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Exploring measuring tools in preschool

Part of learning how to use a measuring tool is to first be given the opportunity to explore the use of measuring tools through their play.

In one of our most recent activity boxes, the children found a set of measuring tools, a measuring chart, and some items and pictures to measure. The measuring box was set out on a table and I had the opportunity to observe some of the children who were exploring the tools…

The tape measure was the most popular item of all the measuring tools. This tape measure was easy for the children to use as it could be pulled out without snapping back unless the children pushed in on a button at the bottom and then it slid back slowly rather than snapping back quickly. It did take a little coaching to help the children understand how to push the button at the bottom of the tape measure…

After the children played for a bit with the measuring tools, I found an opportunity to show some of the children how to count the numbers on the tape measure so we would know how many inches we were measuring…

We talked about the word “inch” and we counted the numbers on the measuring tools. We also talked about which items measured longer and which items were shorter.

Also included in the activity box were a set of cards – they were simply a set of pictures printed from the internet onto paper then laminated. Each photo was of something the children could find in the classroom to measure…

One of the cards was a photo of a chair. It was interesting watching this little boy try to figure out how to measure the chair.

This little boy wasn’t sure which way to measure the chair so he asked me what I thought he should do. I suggested several paths to measure and he decided to go with measuring from the floor to the top of the chair…

With all of our activity boxes, we simply set them out for the children to explore. At times though, I find that a little guided instruction is also helpful. I don’t want to interfere with their natural curiosity but I want to expand their understanding as they play when the opportunity is offered up. By pointing out the numbers on the measuring tools and how each number is an inch – I saw more of the children stop and count during their play. I overheard the children use the word “inch” as well.

What I love about this and most of our activity boxes is how the play is purposeful play. The children love exploring the tools and they are learning as they explore. As the children play, I find opportunities to bring in new understanding and vocabulary without boring the children. I watch their play and wait to see when they are ready for added information to extend their play into a level of higher understanding. I am in no hurry to extend their understanding – I want the children to stay interested in what they are doing and pushing for something they are not interested in doing only makes them lose interest in the activity. So I let the children lead and look for teachable moments along the way.

Available on Amazon