Comparing Children's Height

Area: Measurement
Skill: Describing and Comparing
Key Targeted Strategies:
  • Provide opportunities for practice with direct and indirect comparison
    • Start with comparing only one attribute
    • Direct comparison - physically arrange objects so that key attributes are fairly aligned
  • Model language to use to describe attributes
Foundational Strategies:
  • Asking children open-ended questions that elicit their solution-methods
  • Modeling and using math language

What to Look for in This Clip:

Teachers can support students' early measurement skills by giving them opportunities to describe and compare the mathematical attributes of objects and people.

In this activity, the teacher has two children stand back to back, providing an opportunity for children to practice directly comparing height.

She starts by asking a student an open-ended question, "What do you see?" The student replies, "Big and small." These are general attributes that are common for preschool children to attend to. The teacher then asks the students to directly compare the heights of the two students standing back to back by asking, "Who's bigger?"

When the children say, "Heritage," the teacher models language used to describe attributes, saying "Heritage is taller than Jamon." This both models use of the word taller and connects it to children's representation of bigger. The teacher then continues, "So, if she's taller, Jamon is?" This prompts children to practice using words to describe height.

Finally, she models language one more time by connecting the term smaller to shorter. Throughout this activity, the teacher attends to and uses math language, such as shorter, taller, and bigger, which encourages children to do the same.