Friday, May 16, 2014

Five for Friday - Inch by Inch

For the second week in a row I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share  some of the fun things my kiddos and I have done this week. I hope you can use some of these activities in your own classroom.

This week we continued learning about measurement. Last week I posted fun activities to go with the book The King's Foot. If you need some good stuff to use for teaching feet, CLICK HERE to be taken to that post.

This week we read Inch by Inch (by Leo Lionni).  If you don't have a copy of the book, CLICK HERE to view a video of the book being read. And if you have access to Bookflix, go there to see a super cute animated version of the book. 

The book is about an inchworm that measures different animals. At the end a nightingale wants the inchworm to measure his song and tells the inchworm that if he doesn't, then he'll eat him. The clever little inchworm says 'ok' and ends ends up measuring the nightingale's song by inching out of view. 

If you're studying animal life cycles, you can pull up images of the inchworm life cycle and share those with your class. The inchworm transforms into a moth, so if you're students are familiar with the life cycle of a butterfly, you can have a great discussion comparing the two life cycles. 

After reading the book I passed out an "inchworm" to each student -- it was a small piece of brown paper (which if you do this, make it green because the inchworm in the story is emerald green) that was one inch long. 
They used these "inchworms" to make an inchworm ruler that was 12 inches long (just like a real ruler):
 Students then made a list of objects they could measure with their inchworm ruler. Once the lists were written, we started measuring and recording the actual lengths. Some inchworm rulers were great and some were not (this was difficult for the students with fine motor issues) so the not great inchoworm rulers were substituted for real ones.

After the measurements were taken, we used the data to create line plots.
I forgot to take a picture of the INCH line plot, but we did the exact same as this picture -- just substitute the unit of measurement from cm. to inch.

Now that we had the inch mastered, it was time to take a look at the CENTIMETER.  We looked at a real ruler to see how long (or short) a centimeter actually is. Then we discussed different animals that are about a centimeter long. Most students said an ant so I passed out centimeter ants (once again, change the color of your ants; mine are green -- what was I thinking?) and we glued the ants to our inchworm ruler. 
Now we had a paper ruler with inches AND centimeters. Plus, my kiddos now knew the difference between inches and centimeters.

We repeated the process and remeasured the objects we already measured in inches. We also had a great discussion about why ALL the centimeter measurements were larger numbers than the inch measurements. And of course, we made another line plot to show this new data (see line plot picture above - lol)

Here's the BEST part of the activity (don't get me wrong, we had a blast with the other parts; but even my kiddos agree that this was the most fun) -- we created our own Centimeter by Centimeter book.  It's a spin off of Lionni's Inch by Inch, but focuses on a 'centimeter ant' rather than an inchworm.
(I actually did this with two classes AT THE SAME TIME -- a bit crazy but worth it because the kiddos had fun and worked on a variety of ELA & Math standards.)

I typed up the beginning and the end of the story. CLICK HERE to download these pages (we used the centimeter ant but I left the downloadable document in Word format so you can change some of the information if you wanted. The parts you might be interested in changing is in red text).

For the middle of the story, each student selected an animal that the centimeter ant measured. They wrote about it (with a refresher course on using apostrophes to form possessives) and drew an illustration to match.

They were SO EXCITED about their finished products (ok, to be honest, I was just as excited -- if not more) that we brought them to the school library and the books Centimeter by Centimeter are now on display for everyone to read.

That's all I've got for today -- have a great weekend. Am I the only teacher in the world that doesn't have a countdown going?? I think so...


  1. Such cute work Leah! I loved reading about it! I teach second as well. :)
    Shelley :)