Comparing objects by a measurable trait and classifying objects into categories are two basic kindergarten math concepts. Hands-on classroom activities give the kids practice at basic measuring and comparing based on size. Using actual objects allows the kids to manipulate and physically compare the items. Plan interactive measurement activities to help your kindergarten students master the comparison and classifying standards.
A trail mix at snack time offers a tasty option for your kindergarten students to practice measuring and comparing objects. Use a trail mix with several different types of foods in it so you get a variety of lengths. For example, raisins give you a small component, while pretzel sticks give you a longer option. Give each child a scoop of the trail mix. Have them find at least one of each type of food from the mix to compare. Discuss how to compare the objects to see which is bigger, such as lining them up so one end is even to see which is longer. Draw the items on the whiteboard from smallest to largest after the kids get a chance to do the comparisons.
Nature Walk Measurements
Take the kindergarten students on a stroll around the school grounds or neighborhood to find materials for comparison. You'll find a variety of free nature items to use, such as leaves, rocks, sticks and seeds. Give each student or small group of students a bag for collecting the items. When you get back to the classroom, have the kids sort out the items by size. You can compare all of the items at once, or separate by type. For example, if you found several rocks of different sizes, compare only the rocks. Have the students draw the nature items in their science or math journals. Remind them to scale their drawings to show the actual size comparisons.
Instead of using rulers to help the kindergarteners measure and compare objects, use blocks or other small objects of the same size. Give each group of students four or five objects slightly different, but similar in size. Each group also needs a grid with two columns: one for an estimate and one for the actual measurement. Before they measure the objects with the blocks, they make a guess about how many blocks long they think it is. Have them line the blocks up along the object end-to-end to find out how many blocks long it actually is. The groups record that number in the second column. They use the chart to order the objects from shortest to longest by looking at the numbers. This activity helps kindergarteners not only compare physical size, but the size of numbers to order objects.
Tall, Taller, Tallest
The students in your classroom offer another source of comparison for ordering objects. Use the height of the students to sort them by size. Start with groups of four or five students. Have them get in line in order of size. Have the rest of the class decide if they agree with the order. To compare the entire class, have each child lie down on the ground. Cut a piece of string the same length as each child. Attach a piece of masking tape to each string with the child's name. You can then compare the lengths of the strings and hang them in order to show the sizes. You can do a similar activity with feet. Have each child trace his foot on construction paper and cut it out. As a class, arrange the feet in order from shortest to longest. Tape the feet to the wall in order.
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