We placed rulers, yardsticks, and tape measures around the room in nature, office area, message area, art and construction in order to watch what the children might do with these measuring devices early on during the year.
Wondering how to provoke measuring last week, I asked the children, “How can we measure a smile?” Not an original provocation I must confess. Interestingly enough, they all gave me answers using standard measurement.
In my quest to provoke deeper thinking within the children, I pressed on with, “Yes, you’re right, give me other examples.” And I sent them off to CreaTHINK with the challenge of finding nonstandard ways to measure.
Then I got to do what I love the most – observe and listen. As I strategically placed myself about the room, I observed, listened, and recorded measuring moments. Two examples:
- At our natural items area, one of the children was working alone. She was measuring two stones. She placed the two large stones that she collected from a large basket filled with stones of various sizes onto a table. Actually, she was doing much more complicated math than she realized. She was measuring the perimeter around the two stones. Perimeter is a term that she knows. I often ask the children to sit around the perimeter of the meeting rug. She told me that the two stones measured nine acorns around – a creatively, brilliant way to measure perimeter using natural items/nonstandard measurement. It was a pure, organic experience. This child used the thinking routine, CreaTHINK (Creating through deep thinking). She was creating beauty using natural items while thinking about the challenge of measuring.
- As I continued observing and listening about the room, I noticed a child at the art area with an original work. I asked her how she was thinking about measurement during this CreaTHINK time. She explained to me that she could measure how tall her picture was by using her two hands. You can see how’s she’s placing her hand to measure the height of her art.
Certainly, there was deep thinking happening in the room during this time. Children created beauty and embraced the thinking challenge of measurement. They employed CreaTHINK – creating through deep thinking.