First Grade Math in Action: Learning to Measure

Throughout Corlears on a daily basis, children are learning to master math concepts that set a strong foundation for future mathematical learning. Activities are always challenging students to think more like mathematicians by ask them to not just simply solve the problem, but to track and record their answers – then prove how they reached the conclusion.

In first grade this week, students were measuring various lengths of paper by using one-inch, colorful cubes grouped into fives. This activity calls on the pattern and group counting concepts they initially established in kindergarten, but it also teaches key math concepts for future math work.

This visual problem-solving activity challenged our first graders to ask the questions like, “How big is this object?,” “How can I estimate and then determine the paper’s length?,” and importantly, “How can I explain how I reached my answer?”

Using the groups of 5 and 10 to move them away from counting by 1s, which is directly connected to their number work in addition. By looking at the alternating color patterns of the cubes that were arranged in fives, students were able to visually estimate and later concretely determine how long each paper shape was.

The measuring activity is part of a larger unit that builds to students using open number lines for bigger addition work.

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