Math Access for Teachers and Home Child Care Providers

Guess the Weight Scavenger Hunt

Starting with one object, children will decide which objects in the room are heavier or lighter than that object.

Content Area Standard Target
• Measurement
• Data Analysis & Probability
• Reasoning and Proof
• Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement
• Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurement
• Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them
• Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving
• Make and investigate mathematical conjectures
• Develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data.
• Recognize the attributes of length, volume, weight, area, and time
• Compare and order objects according to these attributes
• Select an appropriate unit and tool for the attribute being measured
• Use tools to measure
• Develop common referents for measure to make comparisons and estimates
• Pose questions and gather data about themselves and their surroundings
• Sort and classify objects according to their attributes and organize data about the objects
• Discuss events related to students’ experiences as likely or unlikely.
Obtain the Materials

• Two baskets – One labeled Lighter and the other labeled Heavier
• Objects set aside that the children are to weigh (make sure that they can fit on a balance scale)
• One object to use as a measuring tool.  Make sure it is something that the children can carry with them, fit on a balance scale, and easily manipulate as they weigh both objects in their hands.
• A balance scale

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. Ask the children to explain weight and the concept of weighing something.  Ask the children about their experience with being weighed or weighing something.  (The doctor weighs you, you weigh produce at the grocery store etc.)
2. Demonstrate how the balance scale works.  Weigh objects that are the same weight, and objects that are of different weight emphasizing which is heavier and which is lighter.
3. Tell the children that they are going on a Scavenger Hunt today to find objects that are heavier and lighter than an object that you will give them to use as a comparison.

Engage the Children

1. Give each child their measurable object.  Explain that they are to find objects that are lighter or heavier than their object.  Ask the children how they will be able to tell? (Use the balance scale or tell by using their hands)
2. First, the children will find objects that are heavier than their object and place it in the basket labeled “Heavier”.
3. Then the children will find objects that are lighter than their object and place it in the basket labeled “Lighter".
4. After all the objects have been collected, gather the children around the two baskets to discuss the objects collected in relation to their own objects.  If there are some discrepancies, put the objects on the balance scale to determine the weights of the objects.

• Once the children have collected items using their measurable objects, have the children switch objects and do the Scavenger Hunt all over again.
• In addition to placing the found objects in the two baskets, the children can also record their finding on a recording sheet.  Have a space at the top of the page where you can write or draw a picture of the measurable item being used and then have a column for the lighter objects and a column for the heavier objects.  The children can either write the name of or draw a picture of their found objects.

Encourage Vocabulary

• Weigh  To measure according weight (e.g., "Today we will weigh objects around the room.")
• Heavier Having greater weight (e.g., "Which of these two objects is the heavier object?")
• Lighter  Having less weight (e.g., "Which of these objects is the lighter of the two objects?")
• The same Identical in kind or quantity (e.g., "These two objects are the same weight.")

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

• Choose unrealistic items to measure (items that are too big, items that you cannot hold with one hand).
• Struggle with the concept of weight and not yet grasp that items are of different weights.

Pre-K Children may:

• Understand the concept of weight and have moved through the Scavenger Hunt with great ease.

Home child care providers may:

• Place the items to be measured into a basket labeled “Items to Measure”.
• Concentrate on one measurable.  Collect items that are lighter than their object and let the children feel the difference as they are holding the two items in their hands.  Repeat this activity several times with lighter objects and then make the same comparison with the heavier objects.

Home child care providers may:

• Have the children have collected items using their measurable objects, have the children switch objects and do the Scavenger Hunt all over again.
• In addition to placing the found objects in the two baskets, the children can also record their finding on a recording sheet.  Have a space at the top of the page where you can write or draw a picture of the measurable item being used and then have a column for the lighter objects and a column for the heavier objects.  The children can either write the name of or draw a picture of their found objects.

Books

• Hershey's Milk Chocolate Weights And Measures Book Paperback by Jerry Pallotta (New York: Cartwheel Books by Scholastic, 2002)
• Me and the Measure of Things by Joan Sweeney (New York: Dragonfly Books, 2002)

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

• Children can collect outside items such as an acorn and a stone. They can then use the balance and weigh the items to explore the concepts of heavier, lighter and the same or equal.

Web Resources

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