How loooong is our step? Math story: Little Chick

Measure the length of our legs and our longest step with string.

Use two colors of string for the two categories of measurement. I tied a knot on the leg measures to distinguish them from the step measures, but that of course didn’t prevent the kids to copy me a tie knots on all their pieces of string, too.

Math story:
Little Chick by Amy Hest and Anita Jeram

Original idea for the story book choice is from the book “Cowboys Count, Monkeys Measure, and Princesses Problem Solve: Building Early Math Skills Through Storybooks” by  Jane Wilburne, Jane Keat and Mary Napoli.


How tall are you?

A big favorite with the kids is self-exploration in numbers; ages, height, stride, and all can be measured and compared to great delight!

Last week we talked about our ages, how old we are in years and how we compare our age.  I wrote the number years on a piece of paper for every child and myself and we lined up from least to greatest.

This week, I had prepared a strip of paper for everyone to lie down on and be measured against.  I marked the height and cut off the strip to hang up in no partiocular order.  Everyone set to work ordering the strips according to length.  We talked about who is shorter and taller and of course got to talk about who is tall for their age and how much they have each grown.

Strips of paper for height ordered on the kitchen door.

Strips of paper for height ordered on the kitchen door.

A roll of painting paper, alternatively lengths of yarn or string.
Masking tape for hanging and ordering individual strips

Preparation: Cut strips of paper for the kids to stand by for measurements.

Skills practiced: Comparison, measurement, ordering.

Playdough ice cream

Following the monkey and alligator song, I suggested the kids use playdough to make monkeys and a log for an alligator.  This proved too challenging for most of them; they were afraid they couldn’t make it look like the animals.  Our Kool-Aid-dyed playdough smelled like synthetic fruit and so kids quickly started making ice cream scoops instead.

playdough scoops

I challenged them to make one-five scoops and even taught some of them how to roll a cone, sneaking in some geometry language when we talked about what made it a cone.  Most kids had to be taught how to roll a ball of playdough, making me happy I had brought it.  We compared the ice cream cones of a pair of kids: who had more scoops?  Who had fewer?

Playdough is very easy to make.  Keep some food colouring and cream of tartar at hand; there is absolutely no reason to spend time and money at the additional trip to the toy store to purchase Play-Doh.


Playdough recipes at Instructables

Just to show that there is nothing new under the sun:  Girls making Neopolitan ice cream cones and wonderful math play with playdough at Here Come The Girls.