Kindergartners learn how to measure the lengths of objects primarily by comparison, according to the Common Core State Standards. They should learn how to tell if one object is longer than another and be able to sort a group of objects according to length. Teach these lessons by engaging them in both individual and group activities that allow them to compare the lengths and heights of classroom objects, and even the heights of their classmates.
Shorter or Longer
Split the class into groups, and give each group a small collection of common items: blocks, pencils, erasers, crayons, etc. Also, give each student one craft stick. On the board, draw a line that separates the board into two sections. Label one section "Longer" and the other section "Shorter." Lead the groups in comparing the length of each object to the length of a craft stick. Model how to do this by placing both the end of the craft stick and the end of the object against the table and then seeing how their upper ends align. You can explain that when you measure how long something is when it's standing up, you are measuring its height. As the groups compare each object, write its name in the appropriate section on the board.
Split the class into groups of three. Have two students from each group stand back-to-back while the third student stands a few feet away and views them from the side. The third student should make sure that both of the other students are standing straight up and are keeping their heads level. The third student should be able to see which student is taller than the other and then place one hand on the top of each of the other students' heads to confirm which one is taller. Afterward, each group should rotate standers and viewers so that every student gets to measure the other two students in the group.
Before class, set up stations of objects of different lengths. For example, make one station of writing utensils: pencils, pens, markers and crayons of all different lengths. Make another station of blocks of different lengths. Demonstrate how to sort the objects at each station before setting your students to work. Then have them line up and take turns sorting the objects in each station according to length. Walk around the room and assist any students that need help, and make sure that each student gets to work at each station.
A Hand's Length
Most children discover their own hands before any other body part, according to Stefany Smith at Education Space 360, and this activity uses your students' hands for comparing length. Give each student a small notebook and some crayons, and explain that they will be documenting the objects in the classroom. Instruct your students to choose any objects they want and to see if those objects are longer or shorter than their own hands. Furthermore, they should draw a picture of all the objects they measure and mark each drawing with either an "S" for shorter than their hands, or an "L" for longer.
- Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images