Since part of the AK state standards for kindergarteners includes a basic understanding of measurement, measurement tools and how to use them I decided to have the boys start measuring something on a regular basis to get ongoing practice in this area. We've also combined this with learning about charts because then it makes our measurements visible.
First we started out by measuring the creek that runs under our deck. Since we have 2 boys, we needed 2 places to measure. So O Boy measured the creek under our deck and Mr. T got to hike back into the woods :-) to measure at a point they like to call The Fishing Pond. Charting this regularly has lead to lots of learning opportunities. It's been fun to see the creek surge when we get a huge rainfall and other times we've caught it when it's barely measureable at all. It was really hard to teach especially O Boy to measure each time in the same place. He liked to search around with the yardstick for the deepest place he could find! I started them off with a bar graph because I wanted something where they could be doing one-to-one counting and also having to color in the small squares (a fine motor activity for Mr. T). O Boy quickly began wanting to write each of the numbers up the columns and just from that got a rough idea of how to make most of the numbers, though he still usually reverses most of them! You can see how challenging it was for Mr. T to keep his coloring just in the one column. I usually folded the chart and covered up everything else to help him keep the color in just one column. It was also interesting for us to find out that, while the fishing pond part of our creek stays fairly stable in depth, the creek under our deck piles up and then breaks through all the grasses and drops down to just a trickle (but it's part of the same creek). Interesting!
Obviously we couldn't continue measuring the creek all year so we switched over to snow a few weeks ago. This time I also switched over to a line graph, mostly for something new. I also changed the numbers on the side from counting by ones to counting by twos. This was partly because we get so much snow (O Boy thought it was pretty funny when he maxed out my graph at 20 inches on his 3rd measurement. Thankfully it melted and I didn't have to add more inches on at the top!). It was also partly to continue getting them familiar with skip counting by twos, another kindergarten skill I was reminded of by my good friend and wonderful kindergarten teacher, Erin. Holding the ruler and drawing their lines from snowflake to snowflake is another interestingly challenging skill. It's always fascinating as an adult to see all the steps in, what to me is an extremely easy process, as they learn it bit by bit.