Learning how to measure

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One of the students decided he wanted to use tape to play. As he was exploring it, he placed a long piece on the table. The teacher asked him if he wanted to measure how long the piece of tape was, so they went to the art studio to retrieve the measuring tape.

All of the children loved exploring the measuring tape and learning about the tool. Soon, they moved past measuring the piece of tape on the table and began measuring the door and each other. At one point, they put a long piece of blue tape on the floor and they placed a long sheet of white butcher paper next to it. Together, they used markers to draw lines next to the measuring tape while counting out loud how much they were measuring.

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This simple activity is important because it gave children the power to have some direction over what they were learning. It’s our natural instinct to learn, but why limit what they learn to a specific time period or activity?

This project helped the children to work together. They couldn’t measure themselves without the help of others, so it naturally taught teamwork and how to contribute to help someone else find information. Moreover, we didn’t limit their resources. Measuring tape isn’t something typically found in classrooms, but we encouraged the children to play with the measuring tape in order to enhance their curiosity and foster a new sense of wonder about a typically ordinary item.

In this activity, we worked on mathematics by counting, learning how to use/read a measuring tape, and how to work in a team. The Reggio Emilia philosophy that we teach by believes that children are capable, competent, and social human beings. Our goal is to provide them with endless opportunities to develop and assist them in building a relationship with each other and material items. So, next time you’re working on a home-improvement project, ask your child for help, you might be surprised by what they can do!

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