Friday, July 6, 2012

Measuring 3 Dimensions

I am still under the delusion that summer should be just as carefree as it was when I was a kid. As a good friend pointed out to me, once you have kids, summer is crazy busy. This activity was a great learning opportunity that I threw together in 10 minutes – perfect for a busy day of summer camp and baseball practice.

I grabbed a handful of items from our pantry with straight sides. I measured the width, depth, and height (or length) of each and noted the dimensions on a post-it note – one note for each object.

My son’s job was to measure the objects and label each with the right post-it note. Before we got started, we did a little reading.

The first part of David Adler’s book Perimeter
, Area, and Volume: A Monster Book of Dimensions provided a great explanation of dimensions – how anything we can hold or walk around has three, and pictures of things have just two. It also illustrated what width, depth, and height (or length) are.

Once we’d reviewed this, my son was ready to put the ruler to use.

After he’d stuck the post-its onto all the items, he flipped them over to check if they were correct. (I’d written the name of each object on the back of its dimensions.)

He thought he’d just measure one dimension of each object to find the match, but confused width and depth and mistakenly matched several. A quick review of the differences between width, depth, and height and my son could see what he’d done wrong.