A Ruler is 30 Centimeters Long

The Activities

  1. Topic: Dimensions: Book: A House For Birdie, by Murphy.
  2. Topic: Tesselations, Shapes: Free play with Pattern Blocks. After making some free-form shapes, I asked the kids to completely cover a half-sheet of construction paper, with no gaps.

    My son has covered the piece of paper entirely.

    My son has covered the piece of paper entirely.

  3. Topic: Measurement: Book: What is Big Compared To Me, by Harris.
  4. Topic: Measurement: I gave each kid a worksheet with various centimeter measurements on it: 1,2,4,7,9,11, etc. Then I dumped a big box of random toys out.  The kids used a ruler to find toys of each length, and then worked with a grown-up to write the toy name in the right place.
    A pile of toys!

    A pile of toys!

    One kid's chart.

    One kid’s chart.

How did it go?

I led the younger circle this week, and 4 kids attended.  It was a nice, calm circle today.  The kids were all engaged by the activities.


The kids all loved playing with the pattern blocks. Two of the kids used the blocks to draw objects like a car or a rocketship.  Another kid built a stack of hexagons out of the blocks. While they played, I started making a snowflake out of pattern blocks.  Immediately my son started copying my snowflake.  Another kid decided to help me instead of building her own shapes.

We played this way for 5 minutes or so, and then I convinced the kids to destroy their designs by first taking a picture of each of them with their creation.  My son took some serious convincing, especially since he was already frustrated because it was hard to copy my design.

Next I handed each kid a half-sheet of construction paper, and asked the kids to use the blocks to completely cover the paper.  Two of the kids started laying down random connected shapes. One kid started building a fancy star shape on her paper. The final kid used only squares to make a column covering the right and left side of his paper.

The kids continued to work on their tesselations for about 10 minutes. At that point my son had finished covering his paper.  All the kids admired his work, which was nice 🙂  The other kids had more work to do, so I let them have a couple more minutes before taking a photo of their work, and cleaning up.


Two dads joined me to help with this activity. The kids are pretty willing to sound out words on their own, but I thought having a couple more parent to help with the writing would help.

The kids were very interested in the pile of toys, but they also did a pretty good job focusing on measuring the toys instead of playing. In fact, all 4 kids completely finished their chart!

The kids started to get a sense for the size of a centimeter.  They learned that a 1 centimeter toy is very small compared to a 24 centimeter toy.  The biggest length on the chart is 30 centimeters.  Three of the kids found a Barbie doll that was 30 centimeters long.  The fourth kid decided to measure a ruler, which is 30 centimeters!


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