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Measures, compares and estimates using manipulatives

Featured Math Vitamins:

Measuring Microblasters
| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook

Story: In this vitamin, students work to measure the length of a much-needed micro blaster for one of their literature characters. You see he has been shrunk to a fraction of his original size and needs to climb a distance equal to each child’s length of string to get back to the micro blaster up on the table. Students are estimating the string lengths and using Cuisenaire rods to measure their string segments, count the blocks and figure out the total length in centimeters. In the video, you see one student exploring how to measure a curved string, another learning to compare centimeter cubes to equal length rods and another student count and count on from 50 units in sets of ten and then transition to ones.

Suggested manipulatives: Measurement is so fun to explore, as you can have students measure almost anything in your classroom environment and you can use both standard and non-standard units of measure. In this case, students were using centimeters (something standard) as their base unit and exploring that relationship to cuisenaire rods. You could also measure using non-standard tools like hands or shoes, books, pens etc.

Prep time: Adapting the vitamin wording to fit your specific story, putting manipulatives out in the room, creating the various string lengths and copying the vitamin documentation forms will take about 15-20 minutes. Set up is always more fun and shorter on time if you do this activity with a colleague.

Classroom time: Asking children to “do their best work” for each Math Vitamin assumes that some children will need a longer time than others. Ideally you want to offer a block of time for Math Vitamin projects and have another task available (writing, free exploration etc.) for those students who finish work prior to their peers. For this project allow 20-45 minutes for students to work through all the steps.

How to individualize/stretch: Start with measuring small lengths and build counting skills. As learning progresses, increase the length to be measured as well as the complexity of the manipulative (higher levels of abstraction) like base ten blocks or Cuisenaire rods.

Math Vitamins:

Ages 3-6

Measuring with Unit Cubes & Rods

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook The other merchants in the Moodey Building are also busy getting their shops reorganized after the renovations last week. Just like yesterday, they will need to know the size of each item before they can put them back on the shelves. Let's take some MEASUREMENTS to see how much space they will need.

Today we'll help out the Flower Shop, Fish Market and Fruit Stand. Use the unit cubes to measure some goods from these merchants.

Which items were better measured with unit cubes? Which items were better measured with ten rods? Why? Before you begin, use your experience from yesterday to think about and plan how to organize your recording.

Estimating Items

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook Estimate how many Halloween items are in the jar. Write your estimation next to your name.

Estimating Unit Cubes

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook How many Unifix cubes are in the jar below? Write your ESTIMATE next to your name.
Hint: An ESTIMATE is a rough guess about an amount, distance, or cost.

Estimating Seeds

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook Today is our first Estimation Vitamin of the year! An estimation is an educated guess or prediction.

Our pumpkin trip is just around the corner! We have some pumpkin seeds in jars set out in the classroom. Take a look inside and make a prediction about which jar has the fewest seeds. Which do jar do you think has the most seeds? Which one do you think is in between?

Estimate how many seeds you think are in the jar with the most seeds. Write down your predictions on a post-it (or board/journal etc).

Estimating Rods & Value

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook Let's warm up our brains with an Estimation Vitamin. First, estimate the number of Cuisenaire Rods in the jar. Then, estimate the total value of the Cuisenaire Rods.

Fair Flair

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook Time for you to make your own "fair flair": pants, shirts, even hats! Decide which one you will make and get your fair flair fabric ticket. Use base ten blocks to measure the length of your limbs (arms and legs). Take your ticket to your teacher to get supplies.

Ages 6-8

Estimating Volume

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook If you had a garden box with a length of 9, a width of 3 and a height of 2, what would you estimate the volume to be? Put your estimation next to your name below!

Math Continuum > Beginning > Measures, compares and estimates using manipulatives