I made these a few years ago and went to use them this year and couldn't find them. I've meant to make more all year so we could use them to do some fun measurement activities. I was very happily surprised to find them tucked away with my St. Patrick's Day stuff. I was so happy I found them that I wanted to share them.
Green Ric Rac
Cans for worms (frosting cans, baby food containers work great!)
Prepare 3 worms for each group. Cut Ric Rac into 3 lengths: 2 inches, 4 inches and 6 inches. Hot glue a wiggle eye on one side at the end of each worm. Make a set of three for each group or set of partners.
Divide the students into groups of four or sets of partners. Give each group a "can of worms", objects/manipulatives (pencils, crayons, books, Popsicle sticks, paper, etc.) to measure, record sheet for each student and a ruler. (I have a record sheet I've made for these activities, but can't figure out how to post it. Sorry:(
Shortest to Longest
Have students lay the worms out and arrange them in ascending order of shortest to longest. Now compare the worms to each other. How many short worms does it take to make a long worm? How many medium worms? Have students talk with their group about how the worms compare in length. Ask them to arrange all the items in ascending order of shortest to longest. (Example, pencil, pencils, crayons, books, Popsicle sticks, paper, unifix cubes, etc.).
Measuring with worms (Non-Standard unit of measurement)
Let students practice measuring items with worms and help them record their data on the record sheet. Students will start by using the shortest worm. They will determine the number of worms it takes to measure the length of a pencil, pencils, crayons, books, Popsicle sticks, paper, unifix cubes, etc.
After measuring each item with the short worm, measure each item with the medium worm. Continue until all items are measured and recorded and repeat with the longest worm.
Measuring in Inches
Help students begin by measuring each worm in inches. Record the measurements on the record
sheet. Students will measure the same items measured with the worms with a ruler to determine the items length in inches.
After the activities:
Discuss the measurements the students came up with using worms and rulers. Have each group pick a worm of their choosing. Have them measure a Popsicle stick with the worm. Have each group share their measurements with the class.
Ask each group to measure the Popsicle stick with the ruler. Point out that when each group chose their own nonstandard measurement tool the measures varied, but when measuring with a ruler, measures were consistent. Discuss why standard units of measurement are needed.
Ask the students about difficulties in measuring large objects with small forms of measurement. Brainstorm measuring tools that would make it easier to measure large objects.
Check out this great song from Deborah Stewart at Little Fingers That Play:
I have been teaching early childhood for about 20 years. I love what I do---it's the best job in the world!!! Where else can you go to work each day and do art, play games, have snack and get hugs regularly AND get paid for it?! I love to share ideas with other teachers and see what they are doing in their classrooms. Teaching is the best profession---we love to share!