I know that we have all done the standard, “How much string does it take to go around the pumpkin?” activity. Over the years, I would give children orange yarn and ask them to pull off how much string they thought they would need to go around the pumpkin. Each child would come up and pull off the yarn, some thinking the pumpkin must surely be as big as a house for how much yarn they were pulling off. And, when we were done, I thought “Do my kiddos really know anymore about estimation and measurement than before we did this activity?” The answer as usually, no! So, I got to thinking….there must be a way to get more out of this activity!
Here are some things that I did….
1. I invited the first child to come up and estimate how much string they thought it would take to go around the pumpkin.
2. After pulling off their yarn, we would measure the pumpkin with the yarn to determine if they had too much yarn or too little yarn. Let’s say there was too much yarn.
3. Their piece of yarn became the standard. So they would stand beside the pumpkin holding their string and the second child would come up. Looking at the standard, they would then need to pull off less yarn because we knew the standard was too much yarn.
3. If their yarn was still too long, they become the new standard and the first child can go and sit down.
4. If their string was too short, then we had two standards---one that was too long and one that was too short.
5. We kept working at trying to find the string that was just right. If someone’s string was just right before everyone had a chance, then the other children would have to come up and pull a piece of yarn that was the same length.
6. Once each child had a piece of yarn, they would walk around the room and use the piece of yarn to measure different things trying to find something that was the same length as their string.
7. Then on the My String Was…recording sheet, they would record their findings. This recording page is in the Apples and Pumpkins Math and Literacy Activities Unit.
8. Then, we used white glue to make a pumpkin shape. They put their string on the glue and let it dry. Using oil crayons, they colored in the pumpkin.
If you want to make it a little more challenging, you can use this recording sheet. Here they stretch out the words of the things that were longer than my string, shorter than my string, and the same length as my string. This recording page is from the Measure It Packet! This packet has tons of measurement activities that are great for your math journal throughout the year!
Measure It! pack has been updated since this original post. Here is the unit for the new cover and the look of the updated pages.