Flower Fun

In this lesson, children will use measurement vocabulary (shorter and taller) as they compare flowers of varying heights.

Math Lesson for:

Toddlers/Preschoolers
(See Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.)

Content Area:

Measurement

Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:

  • Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems and processes of measurement
  • Apply appropriate techniques, tools and formulas to determine measurement

Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:

  • Recognizing the attributes of length, volume, weight, area and time
  • Comparing and ordering objects according to these attributes
  • Understanding how to measure using nonstandard and standard units
  • Developing common referents for measures to make comparisons and estimates

Flower Fun

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

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

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 2: Introduce activity.

  1. Cut the stems of the flowers so that they are all different heights.
  2. Review the following vocabulary words: height, tall and 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 a short flower to use as you explain the concepts of tall and short to the children. 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).”

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  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 and then to the short flower, say: “This flower is taller than this flower.” As you point to the short flower and then to the tall flower, say: “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 the 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. Ask the children to compare their flowers with their friends’ flowers to determine which is taller and which is shorter.
  6. Bring the group back together and have the children determine who has the tallest flower and who has the shortest flower.

Additional Extensions

  • Give each child three or four flowers of at least three different heights. Ask them to put the flowers in order from tallest to shortest, using comparative measurement vocabulary (e.g., tall, taller, tallest or 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 lengths of the two petals and determine which petal is longer and which petal is shorter.

Step 4: Teach math vocabulary.

  • Height: The measurement from the top to the bottom of an object (e.g.,”Today we are going to compare the heights 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

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Need help understanding the concept of an object being taller than another object or shorter than another object
Home child care providers may:
  • Have the children categorize the flowers into tall flowers and short flowers
  • Suggest different attributes that the children can use to categorize the flowers (e.g., colors, types of flowers, artificial/real)
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Have grasped the concept of tall and short and be fluent in using the comparative vocabulary (e.g., taller, tallest, shorter, shortest)
Home child care providers may:
  • Give each child three or four flowers of at least three different heights. Ask them to put the flowers in order from tallest to shortest, using comparative measurement vocabulary (e.g., tall, taller, tallest or 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 lengths of the two petals and determine which petal is longer and which petal is shorter.

Suggested 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

Web Resources

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