Math at Home Math Access for Teachers
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CME Group Community Foundation

 

 

Wonderful Worms

Children will use different-sized, colored, plastic worms to measure various objects around the room.

 
Content Area Standard Target
  • Measurement
  • Algebra
  • Understand patterns, relations, and functions
  • Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement
  • Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements
  • Sort, classify, and order objects by size, number, and other properties
  • 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
  • Select an appropriate unit and tool for the attribute being measured
  • Measure with multiple copies of units of the same size, such as paper clips laid end to end
  • Use tools to measure
  • Use repetition of a single unit to measure something larger than the unit, for instance, measuring the length of a room with a single meterstick
  • Develop common referents for measures to make comparisons and estimates
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Obtain materials Obtain the Materials
 
  • Colored Measuring Worms http://www.learningresources.com/product/measuring+worms--8482-%2C+set+of+72.do?sortby=bestSellers&sortby=&  Use the worms that are approximately an inch long (the blue ones)
  • Objects to measure – lengths and widths (objects should be bigger than the length of a worm)
  • Recording sheet with pictures of the measurable objects on the left side and a space with each colored worm up top and spaces below to place the number of worms.  Each colored worm is a different length so the children will be measuring each object using the various colored worms.

 

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 Introduce the Activity
 
  1. Show the children the worms and let them hold them and play with them a bit.  Ask them what they notice about the worms.  Which colored worm is the shortest?  Which colored worm is the longest?
  2. Give them a set of 5 worms (red, yellow, green, blue & purple) and have them put them in order from shortest to longest.
  3. Explain to the children that their activity will be to measure items around the classroom using the worms as a measurement tool.
   
Engage the children Engage the Children
 
  1. Model how to measure an object using the worms and recording results on a sheet.  “I am going measure the width of the table.  The width is the distance across, side to side.  First, I am going to use the blue worms to measure the width of the table.”  “The blue worms are the shortest of the worms.  How many blue worms do you think the width of the table will be?’ 
  2. Explain and model how to put the worms end to end when measuring.  “Ok. The width of the table is 16 blue worms long.  Now let’s measure the width using the green worms which are longer than the blue worms. Do you think the width of the table will be more green worms or less green worms?” 
  3. After you have measured the width of the table using all the different colored worms, write your findings in the spaces on the recording sheets.  “The width of the table is 16 blue worms.  The width of the table is 11 green worms.  Next to the picture of the table and under the color blue, write the number 16 or draw 16 blue worms.  Next to the picture of the table and under the color green, write the number 11 or draw 11 green worms.” 
  4. Give the children the worms and a recording sheet and let them start measuring.  To begin with, the recording sheet should contain either the length or width of an object, not both.
  5. Once the children are done measuring all their objects, gather them onto the rug to compare their answers.  Highlight that it takes more of the shorter worms than it does the longer worms when measuring the objects.  Ask the children why they think that is?  Collect their answers for working definitions.

Additional Extensions

  • Have the children use multiple colored worms to measure an object and then have them record their findings.  “The width of the table was 1 green, 3 blue, 3 yellow, and 4 red worms long.”
  • Have the children find the difference between the colored worms used to measure the objects.  “What is the difference between the 16 blue worms and the 11 green worms?”

 

   
Encourage vocabulary Encourage Vocabulary
 
  • Measure – Use of standard units to find out size or quantity in regard to : length, breadth, height, area, mass, weight, volume, capacity, temperature and time (e.g., "Let’s measure how many blue worms the robin’s tail is.")
  • How many – The total or sum (e.g., "How many blue inchworms long is the robin’s tail?")
  • DistanceThe length between two points (e..g, "Using the blue inchworms, let’s measure the distance from where we are sitting to the door.")
  • Width – The extent from side to side or breadth (e.g. "Measure the width of the bed.")
  • Length The longest extent of anything as measured from end to end (e.g., "The length of the table is 22 yellow worms.")
  • Shortest – Comparison words for length (e.g., "Which colored worm is the shortest?")
  • Longest – Comparison words for length (e.g., "Which colored worm is the longest?")
  • More – A value that is higher or greater in number (e.g., "Now let’s measure the width using the green worms which are longer than the blue worms. Do you think the width of the table will be more green worms or less green worms?")
  • Less  A value that is smaller in number (e.g., "Now let’s measure the width using the green worms which are longer than the blue worms. Do you think the width of the table will be more green worms or less green worms?")

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

   
Make adaptations Make Adaptations
 

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

  • Have difficulty multi-tasking and concentrating on one objective.

  • Struggle to form their numbers.

Vertical line

Pre-K Children may:

  • Easily measure objects using one-colored worm.

  • Be able to multi-task and record the multiple colored worms they use to measure.

Home child care providers may:

  • Have them measure an object with just one colored worm.  Only use the blue worms to measure objects.
  • Have the children draw the numbers of worms they used to measure the objects.

     

 

Home child care providers may:

  • Have the children use multiple colored worms to measure an object and then have them record their findings.  “The width of the table was 1 green, 3 blue, 3 yellow, and 4 red worms long.”
  • Have the children find the difference between the colored worms used to measure the objects.  “What is the difference between the 16 blue worms and the 11 green worms?”

     

   
Books Books
 
  • Me and the Measure of Things by John Sweeney and Annette Cole (New York: Dragonfly Books, 2002)

  • The Dinosaur Who Lived in My Backyard by B. G. Hennessy (New York: Puffin, 1990)

  • Tallest, Shortest, Longest, Greenest, Brownest Animal in the Jungle!  By Keith Faulkner  (New York: Dutton Juvenile, 2002)

   
Music and movement Music and Movement
 
   
Outdoor connections Outdoor Connections
 
  • Use the children as non-standard units of measurement to measure distances outside.  “How many children is the length of the playground?”  “How many children is the distance between that tree and the sidewalk?”

     

 

   
Explore links Web Resources
 

 

 


 

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