Last weekend my son started using his tape measure (we gave him a tape measure together with a few other items in an “explorer” backpack as a Christmas present) to show me the lengths of different snakes.
It was a brilliant moment as he suddenly needed to convert between cm and m and he still finds that a bit confusing. So I suggested we unroll some art paper that I have (I have big rolls of paper to use in our art activities – you can get them from Ikea). And that way he could measure out the lengths and then make a note of which snake it was so he could have a visual way of comparing them. He was thrilled with the idea and immediately started.
He worked on this for 2 days. He wrote out the lengths for over 30 different snakes, for some he even included the average size and then the maximum size. He had to keep switching between cm and m so he quickly become very good at converting between the two measurements and he even started noticing patterns between some of the snakes.
It was such a good activity that I suggested we try the same thing with his sister but with her we just compared a bunch of general animals like deer, zebra etc. She also commented that after she had completed her sheet of animal measurements she felt a lot more confident with switching between cm and m.
The only problem with the large sheets of paper is the fact that they are large (over 4 m each when unrolled) so we need to roll them up when they are not being used. But my son wanted a way of keeping these length facts at hand. So we decided to make our very own mini fact cards. Nothing fancy. I cut some card up and the kids started creating their own fact cards – they drew the pictures and they found the stats (we stuck to length, height and weight – oh and sometimes wingspan).
These cards were fun to make but they also reinforced a lot of what my son had been working on with his measuring snake activity – he was yet again converting between cm and m and now he started to include kg and g. The measuring cards are also great because it is an easy way to order the animals – based on height or weight.
To go with all their measuring activities I made the kids a quick poster showing the different metric units for measurement.
Nothing fancy but it helps to have something stuck up to remind them. I am including it here if anyone finds it useful.