Friday, 1 October 2010

Imperial or metric - and how long is a piece of string?

Luna measurements - NASA accurate!
We went 'old school' today in pre-school - using things readily available to us to measure the other things around us...bit like back in the day before anyone my age knew how long a centimetre (or even a centimeter) was, how heavy a kilogramme (or a kilogram) was....deploy hands, feet, and elbows!
Do you like my castle? Do you?
First off, we drew around our hands from thumb-tip to pinky-tip, in the process Yuki turned Hina's hands green with the marker pen (she was helping out today as Naomi sensei is away in Tokyo)! Then we drew around feet. We quickly photocopied them so we had six of each, for each child - a measuring set. We also managed to solve the "How long is a piece of string?" conundrum at a stroke: it is the distance from your elbow to your finger tip (a cubit, I believe).

Tooled up, we set about measuring our surroundings. The table we were sitting at, the jigsaw we had done first thing, and the castle we'd built for snack-time. We jotted down our results and noticed something quite odd - our results were not the same. Why? Maybe we are different sizes? We tested this theory on Yuki's feet and hands - much bigger than the children's. Jim's were even bigger - the biggest in fact.
"Six feet tall" Luna Giants!
We measured each other - from head to toe and from finger-tip to finger-tip. According to this survey our three year olds are approximately 7 feet tall :) and I'm about 4 yards across the chest (getting there!)

While our results then were not the most scientifically sound you'll ever see, they were cast-iron true for our kids today. Stimulated them to think about which things are bigger or smaller, longer & shorter etc - and have a way of proving if these ideas are true/false.

I know what a foot is (I've got one or two), and a yard - three feet...what was the premise for a centimetre?!