Little Giraffes Teaching Ideas
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The photos on the pages listed below offer some math instructional ideas.





Use nonstandard measuring instruments and make length comparisons regarding shorter, longer, or the same as.



A block is three pancakes long. How many pancakes long is the boy?




How many blocks will it take to balance everyday objects such as scissors or crayons? This activity is from the book, Science Through The Alphabet,  by Sue Kerr.  You can e-mail the author directly at if you want to purchase her books.


Laminate and hang up a string of die cut pumpkins (or pumpkins from a tablet). Have each student stand next to the pumpkins. A friend helps them measure themselves. A photo could also be taken.) Students fill in a paper that says, “_______ is ____ pumpkins tall!” Make this into a class book entitled, “How Tall is Mrs. _________’s Class?” (Adapted from Mrs. Polh.meyer's site.)

We had to guess which one of these worms is actually an "inchworm"---that is, which one is really one inch long. After coloring our choice, we opened the bottom of the paper and found the real inchworm. Then we used inchworms to measure some common objects.



We rolled clay into snakes to compare the lengths.

Then we put the snakes in order from shortest to longest.


Trace each child's footprint and have them cut it out. Compare the sizes of the footprints. Then sequence them by size.





Then measure each footprint with unifix cubes. Glue each one on a paper with these words:

_____________'s foot is ____ cubes long.

Combine these to make a class book.


Use marshmallows or other small candy to measure the circumference of pictures.


Paper Clip or Bean Non-Standard Measuring Device


Cut a strip of packing tape place it sticky side up on a table. Lay either 10 paper clips or lima beans in the middle of the tape. Fold sides of tape over the clips or beans. Cut off the extra tape at the ends. Use a sharpie to write the numbers 1-10 over the clips or beans. Use the device to measure the length of different objects in the room.

We are learning about measurement. Each child took off their shoe and then had to find one thing in the room that was shorter than her shoe and one thing that was longer.



These students found the shorter and longer items very quickly.


We used clay to make one snake the same length as a crayon and then a shorter and a longer snake.



This idea was posted by Libby on Kinderkorner:


Take those silly wind up toys that waddle and walk (very cheap--a dozen for $7). Tape down 2 rows of unifix cubes as a track, making a lane down the middle for the wind up toy to stay in as it travels.


Wind up the toy, put it in the lane/track and measure how far it goes! (I always put a standard on how many twists of the wind up toy they get, and this is labeled on the graph we make.) When they get their best distance, they get that many cubes and start making a class graph. So if their toy went 8 unifix cubes in distance on the windup, then they take 8 unifix cubes and put it in their graphing spot.


This could be done as a center activity. It needs lots of modeling first--like how to wind up, how to count the wind ups, how to make the transfer from the distance count to the number of unifix cubes to use, how to place the toy at the beginning point and how any deviance from these standards ruins the validity of our study!!!
Then by Friday, you have a super graph!




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