Hi I’m Ramesh. I’m 5 now and I’m getting taller every day. I’m bigger than my brother and who knows, maybe I’ll get huge like a giant and be able to touch the clouds!
In the Early Years, the concept of ‘measure’ encourages lots of talk within a classroom. After all, it is relevant to children as they themselves are constantly growing and begin to recognise that their height can be charted. The concept of measure also links beautifully to stories such as Jack and the Beanstalk and Titch (by Pat Hutchins), as well as watching plants growing inside and outside the classroom. There are lots of ways to introduce measure to children – using hands, blocks and even boxes to represent units of measure rather than immediately resorting to tape measures and rulers; centimetres and metres.
But how might we introduce waste into measure?
A long plastic bag leftover from a curtain rail creates a wonderful opportunity to make an over-sized tape measure. Not only can the children capture waste from the classroom that would ordinarily go to landfill, but conversation flows about how long the tape measure might be, what numbers can be put on it, counting in 10s and even how many children might fit along it! Creating something that measures something really long or tall literally stretches children’s perceptions of size and height. The excitement around an over-sized object immediately creates a different and deeper level of engagement in mathematics.
Talking about measure also allows for key mathematical language to be modelled – taller, shorter, longer, bigger, smaller. Add intriguing opportunities to explore measure, and that vocabulary follows naturally.
Odd bits of old jewellery can present an interesting way to order and compare measure and if you want to thrill, pieces of old hose cut into different lengths can lead to exciting opportunities to develop measure outdoors. Timers can be added for challenge and chalk can enhance for mark-making and writing numerals.
And if you want to avoid plastic rulers, why not find bits of wood on a skip and make rulers with the children? Lots of opportunities to measure things up with waste.