How Do We Measure? Comparing Weight Day 2

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Students will be able to describe objects in terms of weight and compare the weight of two objects.

Big Idea

Students will be introduced to the concept of weight by feeling objects and describing them as heavy or light. They will also explore how we can use our hands or a balance to make weight comparisons.

Problem of the Day

5 minutes

I start each math lesson with a Problem of the Day.  I use the procedures outlined here on Problem of the Day Procedures.

Today's Problem of the Day:

Look at these snakes. Compare their lengths.

For this Problem of the Day, I include two pictures of snakes.  They are the same graphic with slight changes in color and size.  The snakes are movable. 

I have one student answer this question, and explain his or her thinking.  If the student does not do it, I encourage the student to move the snakes to ensure that he or she has enough information to compare the length of the two snakes.  I am looking for the student to line up the two snakes on one end so that the difference in length is easily seen.  I am also looking for students to use the words longer and shorter as the comparison of length is explained.

Presentation of Lesson

25 minutes

I have the students move to the perimeter of the carpet.  I use the word perimeter to reinforce some additional mathematical vocabulary.  I remind students that when we are working with materials in the middle of the carpet, we need to keep our hands in our laps and not touch the materials unless asked by the teacher.  I place a balance in the middle of the carpet.  Near me I also have a bucket containing the following: a feather, a board book, a pencil, an apple, a bar of soap, and a can of soup.  

This is a new tool that we are going to use in our math lesson today.  Does anyone know what this is for?  This is called a balance, and we use it to help us compare the weight of objects.  When we place an object in each side, one side goes up and the other side goes down.  Let's try it out.

I call up a student to put a feather in one side and another student to put small board book in the other side.

Which object went up?  The feather went up, so that tells us that the feather weighs less.  We call this lighter.  Which object went down?  The book went down, so that tells us that the book weighs more.  We call this heavier.

We continue with the other objects.  I start with large differences in weight (feather/book, pencil/apple).  I also show the students a very close comparison using the apple and the bar of soap.  Depending on the size of the apple and soap, they may almost be equal.  I discuss with student how, just like length, the weight of two objects can also be equal.

We don't always have a balance to use to compare the weight of two objects, but sometimes we can figure it out just by holding the objects in each of our hands.  When I hold the soup can in one hand and the feather in the other hand,  I can feel that the soup can is heavier.

I tell students that they are going to be comparing some of their own objects and recording their results on a Comparing Weight worksheet.

You are going to be doing this paper with the people at your table, but we are going to go over the directions together.  When you get to your seat, do not touch your container of objects.  You need to get out a pencil and put your name on your paper.  When your name is on your paper hold your pencil in the air, that will let me know that you are ready to start.

I use the procedures outlined here on the Paper Procedures.  Prior to this lesson, I placed a plastic container at each table containing the following materials: a crayon, a marker, a die, a foam ball, an apple, a bar of soap, a bottle of glue and a full water bottle.

Compare the weight of the objects shown.  Circle the object that is heavier.  Put an X on the object that is lighter.

The first thing the directions tell you to do is compare the weight of the objects shown.  You are going to do this by holding one in each hand.  You will then mark your answers on your paper using an X for the lighter object and a circle for the heavier object.  Look at the example in the box.  When I hold a feather in one hand and a can in the other, I can feel that the feather is lighter and the can is heavier.  I need to put and X on the feather and circle the can.  You are going to share objects with the people at your table.  Flip your paper on the back.  The last question asks you to choose two objects and compare their weight.  You need to the draw the items and mark them with an X or circle based on your comparison.

I walk around and make sure that students are sharing the objects and are actually feeling the objects before they mark their answers.  I look for students who are using the words heavier and lighter as they talk with their group. 


20 minutes

The centers for this week are:


I quickly circulate to make sure students are engaged and do not have any questions about how to complete the centers.   I pull three groups during centers and work with them depending on the time they need (5 - 10 minutes).

Today I am focusing on teen numbers with all of the groups.  Based on the end of unit assessment for teen numbers and report card assessments that I am currently working on, I have found that my students are still struggling with teen numbers.  They have caught on to measurement quickly, so I feel that it is important to use this small group time to practice identifying teen numbers and counting groups of up to 20 objects.  I group the students by ability level based on the assessments I mentioned above, but I do the same activity with all three groups.  I start with teen number flashcards.  I then give each student a number card and the student counts out that number of objects.  Finally, I say a teen number and have each student write it on their white board.

Prior to clean up, I check in with each table to see how the centers are going.  I turn on Tidy Up by Dr. Jean.  Students clean up and return to their seats. This is a paid resource, but there are many free examples of transition songs easily found in a web search.  Another transition I have been using lately during clean up has been counting down from 20 slowly.  The students like to count backwards with me as they clean up and I can lengthen or reduce the clean up time based on how students are doing and how much time we have.


5 minutes

To close, I choose a student paper to display on the document camera while that student explains their work.  I have the student focus on their chosen comparison - in this case the number 7.  I mention positive things noticed during centers as well as something that needs to be better next time. 

I review what we did during our whole group lesson. 

Today we learned to compare objects based on weight.  Tomorrow, we are going to continue to practice comparing objects based on weight.