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Measurement and Data

 

Measurement and Data are connected in the Common Core Standards in Kindergarten; they are closely intertwined as you think about content areas of teaching math in pre-k.

Measurement


Measurement is one of the primary content areas for pre-k mathematics instruction.

Young children are continually measuring how big, how tall, how much, how far, how old, and how heavy they are compared with their friends.   In daily experiences such as choosing the biggest brownie or pouring juice into too small a glass and spilling all over the counter, children use and develop their intuitive notions of comparing volume, area, length, and other attributes they will eventually learn to measure. Adults often think of measurement in terms of formulas, rulers, and graduated cylinders.  But young children encounter measurement every day in many contexts as they explore and try to make sense of their world.

Copley, J.V. 2010. The young child and mathematics. 2nd edition. Washington, DC: NAEYC; Reston, VA:National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (p. 118)


What should you be teaching in pre-k programs? The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) developed Curriculum Focal Points in 2006 for all grade levels, including pre-kindergarden.  
Curriculum focal points highlight the most important mathematical topics for each grade level. They comprise related ideas, concepts, skills, and procedures that form the foundation for understanding and lasting learning. They are the topics that should be considered as the basis for decisions about curriculum development. (www.nctm.org). It is important that these focal points be addressed in learning experiences that also promote the process skills: problem-solving, reasoning, communication, making connections, and designing and analyzing representations.

Pre-Kindergarten Curriculum Focal Points (NCTM)


Measurement: Identifying measureable attributes and comparing objects by using these attributes.

Children identify objects as “the same” or “different,” and then “more” or “less,” on the basis of attributes that they can measure.  They identify measurable attributes such as length and weight and solve problems by making direct comparisons of objects on the basis of those attributes.

Tennessee’s Early Learning Developmental Standards


Tennessee’s Early Learning Developmental Standards (TN-ELDS) identified Learning Expectations and Performance Indicators aligned to the math area of Measurement as represented below.

4 to 5 years (49 through 60 months)
Component Learning Expectations
(examples)
Performance Indicators
(examples)
By the end of the age span
Correlations
Measurement Begins to demonstrate understanding of time, length, weight, capacity and temperature.
Constructs a sense of time as it relates to his daily life.
K.4.1
 
Participates in measuring activities using conventional and non- conventional measuring tools
K.2.1
 
Uses conventional measurement, time, and money terms with some accuracy


Excerpted from TN Early Childhood Curriculum Standards http://tn.gov/education/ci/earlychildhood/sec3math.pdf 

An additional resource for thinking about what and how you should teach about measurement to 4-5 year old children is the Learning Paths chart below that aligns knowledge with sample teaching strategies.

Content Area Examples of Typical Knowledge and Skills
From Age 3
Age 6 Sample Teaching Strategies
Measurement Recognizes and labels
measurable attributes
of objects (e.g., “I need
a long string,” “Is this
heavy?”).

Begins to compare and sort according to these attributes (e.g., more/
less, heavy/light; “This
block is too short to be
the bridge”).
Tries out various processes and units for
measurement and begins
to notice different results
of one method or another
(e.g., what happens when
we don’t use a standard
unit).

Makes use of nonstandard measuring tools or uses
conventional tools such as a cup or ruler in nonstandard
ways (e.g., “It’s
three rulers long”).
Uses comparing words to model and discuss measuring
(e.g. “This book feels heavier
than that block,” “I wonder if
this block tower is taller than
the desk?”).

Uses and creates situations
that draw children’s attention
to the problem of measuring
something with two different
units (e.g., making garden
rows “four shoes” apart, first
using a teacher’s shoe and
then a child’s shoe).


Excerpted from Learning Paths and Teaching Strategies Chart in Promoting Good Beginnings:  Early Childhood Mathematics. NAEYC/NCTM Joint Position Statement, 2002, updated 2010. 

Data


In relation to the content area of data, the emphasis in the early years is on informal experiences with data collection, organization and display. Working with data supports the other content areas of number, measurement, and geometry and spatial sense.

How many children came to school today? Are there more boys than girls?  Are there enough cookies for every child to have two? Which pudding flavor got the most votes? What is the probability, or chance, that it will snow today? All of these questions connect to Number and Operations.  Dealing with important data encourages young children to think and problem solve. For example, they might help graph the pudding votes and then decide which flavor has the most votes by looking for the highest column or by counting the votes.  This connects number to measurement.  Finally, problem solving is the heart of the Algebra standard.  Graphing and estimation activities directly relate to problem solving.

From:  Moomaw, Sally and Hieronymus, Brenda, (2011) More Than Counting: Standards-Based Math Activities for Young Thinkers in Preschool and Kindergarten. St. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press, p. 278

Standards


Tennessee’s Early Learning Developmental Standards (TN-ELDS) identified Learning Expectations and Performance Indicators aligned to the math area of Data as represented below.

4 to 5 years (49 through 60 months)
Component Learning Expectations
(examples)
Performance Indicators
(examples)
By the end of the age span
Correlations
Problem-Solving and Analyzing Data Begins to develop foundation for linking concepts and procedures with active experiences.

Demonstrates increasing interest and awareness of numbers and counting as a means for solving problems and determining quantity.

K.1.3

Excerpted from TN Early Childhood Curriculum Standards http://tn.gov/education/ci/earlychildhood/sec3math.pdf 

A resource for thinking about what and how you should teach about data collection and representation to 4-5 year old children is the Learning Paths chart below that aligns knowledge with sample teaching strategies.

Content Area Examples of Typical Knowledge and Skills
From Age 3
Age 6 Sample Teaching Strategies
Displaying and analyzing data Sorts objects and counts
and compares the groups
formed.

Helps to make simple
graphs (e.g., a pictograph
formed as each child
places her own photo in
the row indicating her
preferred treat—pretzels
or crackers).
Organizes and displays
data through simple
numerical representations
such as bar graphs
and counts the number in
each group.
Invites children to sort and
organize collected materials
by color, size, shape, etc. Asks
them to compare groups to
find which group has the most.

Uses “not” language to help
children analyze their data
(e.g., “All of these things are
red, and these things are NOT
red”).

Works with children to make
simple numerical summaries
such as tables and bar
graphs, comparing parts of the data.



Excerpted from Learning Paths and Teaching Strategies Chart in Promoting Good Beginnings:  Early Childhood Mathematics. NAEYC/NCTM Joint Position Statement, 2002, updated 2010.