Introduction to active measurement for younger primary students

Short vs. tall

Objective: To allow students to compare the attributes of integer bars.

Manipulative Activity: A follow-up activity where individual children or pairs of children compare the attributes of the integer bars and learn the accompanying vocabulary.

Distribute integer (Cuisenaire) rods to all the children in the class. Ask each child or pair of children to respond with a model as an example for each of the following:

  • Short vs. tall
  • Horizontal vs. vertical
  • One of each colour
  • A different example of two rods that have the same colour (realisation that they will always be the same length if they are the same colour)

Technology Activity: Students use an integer bar applet written by Jacobo Bulaevsky to reinforce concepts of tall vs. short, horizontal vs. vertical, colour, and size.

Refer to How to Use the Integer Bar Program for directions.

Depending on the availability of computers for your students, this activity can be done individually, with partners, in groups, or as a class. Work through the manipulative activity using the applet instead of the actual bars.

Have students go to Short vs. Tall.

Paper/Pencil Activity: Depending on the level of your students, you can have them complete this activity individually or with assistance. Here are some possible activities:

  1. Students draw two bars, labelling one short and the other tall.
  2. Students draw two bars, labelling one vertical and the other horizontal.
  3. Students draw all of the bars, from shortest to tallest.

Literature Connection: Block City
Robert Louis Stevenson, (London: Wolf Anderson Press, 1988)