Science Storytime: Inch by Inch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor our second Science Storytime program I borrowed a program idea from the Westerville Public Library for a theme of nonstandard measurement. I forgot to take pictures, so there’s only my one image of a “worm” on top of the book.

We started off by reading Inch By Inch by Leo Lionni. Then we talked about measurement and the different ways to measure people. Measuring tapes and rulers were brought up by several children. Then we talked about nonstandard measurements, and how we can use anything to measure. I had made several “worms” by hotgluing a ribbon to two popsicle sticks. The original programming idea from the WPL put a twist in their ribbon, which was cute, but I thought muddled the idea of using it to measure, since the ribbon can’t get entirely straight. My ribbons did not have twists in them. I made some of them very long and some quite short, and as a group we used the different sized worms to measure a chair and my hand, and talked about why the big worm took less steps than the little worm. We also talked about why we might choose the big worm to measure the chair and the little worm to measure my hand, and why both worms could do the job but one was the best worm for the job.

Then I gave each child their own worm, all of which were roughly two inches long, and let them wander around the room measuring things. I was surprised by how many of them wanted to measure me (which is why there aren’t any pictures). Maybe because I’d used my hand as part of the initial discussion? But my arm, my leg, and eventually asking me to lie down to measure my whole body were popular choices.

If I had to do it over again, I would choose something besides a hot glue gun for creating my worms. The kids were a bit rougher with their worms and the glue was slightly less sturdy than anticipated, and many of the worms broke. Luckily they were easy to fix with the hot glue gun again, but it didn’t solve the basic problem, and several of the worms were repaired multiple times.


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