Seven Days Old to Seven Years (Age 8)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Time. Book: A Second is a Hiccup, by Hutchins. This is a sweet book about how much a kid can do in second, day, week, year. It’s pretty simple, but I made it more challenging for the big kids by asking computational questions like: “How many seconds are there in one hours? How many hours in two days?”
  2. Topic: Measurement. Use ribbons to measure the kids’ ears, wrists, hands, feet, and height. Add the new measurement to the chart we’ve been keeping for the last couple years.

    Two years of measurements.

    3. Topic: Decision Trees, Programming. First show the kids a simple decision tree for sorting cards into three piles: A, B, and C. Trace through the tree for some sample cards as a group. Then give each kid a stack of cards to sort using the tree.  Next try some harder decision trees. Then deal 6 cards into two stacks, A and B, and try to write a decision tree that puts each card into the right pile.


    An easy decision tree.

    Here a the other trees: Tree 1,  Tree 2, Tree 3, Tree 4, Tree 5.


How did it go?

We had 4 kids this week. There was a lot of energy, but the kids were pretty focused, and I only had to give a few behavior warnings to my daughter.

See How We’ve Grown

The kids were excited to take their measurements again.  Measurement error was again a big factor, as some kids ears and wrists magically seemed to shrink. Height and foot size seemed more accurate, probably because those measurement changed the most. The kids grew between 3 cm and 5 cm this year.  We discussed questions like: how much did you grow this year? How much have you grown since the beginning of circle? Who has the biggest feet? Smallest ears?

I also showed the kids a picture of my daughter when she was seven days old, along with an impression of her foot.  It’s so amazing how quickly they grow up.


My seven day old girl.


Playing Card Decision Trees

Last week, the kids tried to classify cards into piles using a simple programming language. The syntax of the language proved to be pretty confusing to the kids, especially the parentheses. Syntax has often been trickier than expected in the past too.

We decided to repeat the same activity, but use decision trees instead of a programming language to sort the cards. All four kids quickly caught on to how to trace a given tree.  Some kids also started to notice unreachable branches of the trees…for example:IMG_0002

The second “8?” is always “no”, so you never put any cards in pile C.  Several kids noticed this, and were excited to point it out.

Next, I made two piles cards and asked kids to help write a decision tree to sort the cards. I intentionally picked each divisions, for example, pile A might have all hearts in it, so you can make a simple tree: “Hearts?” yes -> A, no -> B.  After they were comfortable, I dealt out six random cards, and we worked together to make a tree. With random cards, you are likely to need more than one question.

At this point, I asked the kids if they were ready for their own set of harder cards. Everyone said “yes” (always a good sign), so I dealt out six cards in two piles to each kid. If a kid was stuck, I suggested a starting question.  All 4 kids were able to make progress on this.  I think all 4 quickly came up with trees that *almost* worked, except for one card.  I helped them find the place in the tree where the card went to wrong pile, and suggested that they add a new question there, to make the card go to the right place.


One kid’s decision tree for six random cards. Yes, her handwriting is better than mine!

All four kids were able to fix their trees and correctly sort all six cards.


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