Math Access for Teachers and Home Child Care Providers

Flower Fun

Children will use measurement vocabulary (shorter and taller) as they compare flowers of varying heights.

Content Area Standard Target
• Measurement
• Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement
• Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurement
• Recognize the attributes of length, volume, weight, area, and time
• Compare and order objects according to these attributes
• Understand how to measure using nonstandard and standard units
• Develop common referents for measures to make comparisons and estimates
Obtain the Materials

• Flowers (real or artificial), at least 2 per child.
• A vase to hold the flowers

Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

Introduce the Activity

1. Cut the stems of the flowers so they are all different heights.
2. Review the following vocabulary words – height, tall, short.  Elicit responses from the children and develop working definitions so that the children have a clear understanding of the words and the definitions are composed exclusively of their words and ideas.
3. Choose a tall flower and short flower to use as you explain the concepts of tall and short to the children (e.g., As you show the children the tall flower, you might say, “This flower is tall.” As you show the children the short flower, you might say, “This flower is short.")
4. Explain that short and tall are words used to describe height.  Point to various objects in the room and describe their height. (e.g., “The bookcase is tall while the filing cabinet is short.”)

Engage the Children

1. Choose two flowers with different heights and place them side by side in front of the children.  As you point to the tall flower then to the short flower, point out that , “This flower is taller than this flower.” As you point to the short flower then to the tall flower, point out that, “This flower is shorter than this flower.”
2. Using the same two flowers, ask, “Which flower is taller?” Children can respond individually or in unison. Then, using the same two flowers, ask, “Which flower is shorter?” Acknowledge their responses by echoing and pointing out which flower is taller and which flower is shorter.
3. Ask each child to choose two flowers with varying heights from the upright container. Allow children to handle and explore their two flowers for a few minutes.
4. Go around the group and ask each child, “Which of your flowers is taller?” and “Which of your flowers is shorter?”
5. Have the children to compare their flowers with the flowers of their friends’ flowers to determine which one is taller and which one is shorter.
6. Bring the group back together and have the children determine who has the tallest flower and who has the shortest flower.

• Give each child 3 or 4 flowers of at least three different heights, and have them put the flowers in order from tallest to shortest, using comparative, measurement vocabulary (e.g., tall, taller, tallest and short, shorter, shortest).
• Have two children stand next to each other and discuss who is taller and who is shorter. Compare various pairs of children.
• Remove the petals from several different types of flowers (real or artificial). Compare the length of two petals and determine which petal is longer and which petal is shorter.

Encourage Vocabulary

• Height – The measurement from the top to bottom of an object (e.g., "Today we are going to compare the height of our flowers.")
• Tall, taller, tallest – Used to compare stature/height (e.g., "Which of your flowers is taller?")
• Short, shorter, shortest – Comparison words for height or length (e.g., "Which of your flowers is shorter?")

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

• Need help understanding the concept of an object being taller than another object or shorter than another object.

Pre-K Children may:

• Have grasped the concept of tall and short and are fluent using the comparative vocabulary (e.g., taller, tallest, shorter, shortest).

Home child care providers may:

• Have the children categorize the flowers into Tall flowers and Short flowers.
• Use different attributes that the children can use to categorize the flowers. (e.g., colors, types of flowers, artificial/real).

Home child care providers may:

• Give each child 3 or 4 flowers of at least three different heights, and have them put the flowers in order from tallest to shortest, using comparative, measurement vocabulary (e.g., tall, taller, tallest and short, shorter, shortest).
• Have two children stand next to each other and discuss who is taller and who is shorter. Compare various pairs of children.
• Remove the petals from several different types of flowers (real or artificial). Compare the length of two petals and determine which petal is longer and which petal is shorter.

Books

• Tall and Small: A book about Height by Kate Gilbert Phifer (New York: Walker & Co, 1987)
• Length by Henry Arthur Pluckrose (Chicago, IL: Children’s Press, 1995)
• Size by Henry Arthur Pluckrose (Chicago, IL: Children’s Press, 1995)

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

• Play an exercise game with children. Ask children to duplicate your motions as you make yourself a short tree (squat down) and a tall tree (reach as high as possible). As you make the movements, say, "Short, tall."

Web Resources

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