“Look, I can pick up six blocks at once! It’s not even heavy!”

It’s pickup time in the block center and now we have a challenge on our hands.  I recognize that this has taken on a learning moment that we can’t rush but we can extend. Showing off our muscles and strength is another perfect opportunity to meet a math measurement standard through play. Children are always fascinated by how big or how heavy things are.
Jonathan had thrown the challenge down and here was our chance to use math vocabulary, collect data, make predictions and practice our geometric shapes.  Suddenly we’re counting, adding, sorting, grouping.
Children can use measurement language to relate to their play. They compare who’s taller, argue over who has more apples, who’s the fastest and who has the longest train. In this moment we can learn to measure size, weight and capacity. Students need to talk about and talk through their mathematical concepts. They need to talk their theories out-loud with each other and their teachers.

As teachers we can model appropriate math terminology and encourage our students to use mathematical vocabulary. Children used the blocks to build towers that are smaller than their body, larger than their body, and the same size as their body. They also built two towers of the same size.

“I wonder which is heavier, the stack of six blocks or two of these long blocks? Are they the same?  They are? We can say the blocks are equal in weight.” Using real objects help children understand measurement concepts.

Here I go once more, rambling about the benefits we reap in the block area, during pickup time.  If it wasn’t so innocent and deep, I would swear they were manipulating me.  Give the gift of time. Toss out the clock, and let the investigations continue.  Let the play buzz fill their little brain with a strong math foundation through play.

Before naps, I will bring out the book by Steve Jenkins, Biggest, Strongest, Fastest. This book describes animals that are the heaviest, strongest and tallest. It introduces the concept that determining which animal is the biggest depends on how you define big.  We also love the math books,  How Many and Which One Doesn’t Belong by Christopher Danielson.  These great books help my group understand there are many different measurable attributes to consider when we say something is bigger or heavier.

## 24 Replies to “The Weight of Things”

1. William Whitesell says:

Great blog lesson

1. Mackenzie Gossett says:

Great lesson with lots of math vocabulary and communication p loo us all the fun with this lesson and activity.

2. Mary Kuenstler says:

Nice reminder to use math vocabulary in everyday exploration.

3. Aeriel says:

Great way to get children engaged in math.

4. Melissa E Bergschneider says:

I think we may have the same class of children. Now when its clean up time for blocks I have started about ten minutes earlier than I should. The math vocabulary has been incorporated when we sit with the children and they are building as well. It truly is a great time to use math language.

5. Sandy Pendell says:

What a wonderful journey for the children. I loved the quote…”Give the gift of time. Toss out the clock and let the investigations continue!” Thank you for the literature component too.

6. Maria says:

What an awesome way to get the children involved and learning math at the same time.

7. Jordan Trimm says:

Awesome way of learning how many and open ended conversation!

8. I love this activity in math,most children in class enjoy block play and what a wonderful way to expand math in play.

9. brenna says:

these principles can be used in many ares

10. brenna says:

these principles can be used in many areas in the classroom

11. Patricia Lara Flores says:

Math principles can be used throughout the day at school including outside time. Math activities are a favorite past time in my class.

12. Deshanna says:

I think its cool that playing blocks could be use as a measurement tool

13. Betsy says:

I love the literacy connection!

14. shelia burton says:

I have found that clean up opens up a lot of math, such as sorting blocks in the right container or by the right size, or matching the blocks to the correct picture on the shelves, so much can be learned during clean up time that a lot of us fail to realize.

Math vocabulary is extended when children play in the blocks area by comparing and solving problems, asking questions making challenge and by describing process.

16. Diane Bishop says:

I love the addition of books to this lesson!

17. lydia says:

I think that this is an awesome way at incorporating math vocabulary into play time. This will keep the children engaged in what they are doing, and they will start to think about the vocab.

18. Samantha Donaldson says:

It’s a great way to increase math vocabulary and understanding!

19. Andrea Gibson says:

Great ideas for using math with blocks

20. Phyllis Calhoun says:

Phyllis Calhoun
doing the building block was a great math activities for the children to know how to count.

21. eva Patron says:

this clean up the blocks time is great because the kids are developing their measurement learning and expanding their vocabulary

22. Denise says:

Using math during clean up time in blocks is a great way to help the children have fun while picking up blocks.

23. Staci says:

great ideas here – blocks are my favorite math material and we have several different types.