## Wonderful Worms

In this lesson, children will use colorful plastic worms of different sizes to measure various objects around the room.

### Lesson for:

Toddlers/Preschoolers

(See Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.)

### Content Area:

Algebra

Measurement

### Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers **meet the following educational standards**:

- Understand patterns, relations and functions
- Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems and processes of measurement
- Apply appropriate techniques, tools and formulas to determine measurements

### Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be **more proficient** at:

- Sorting, classifying and ordering objects by size, number and other properties
- Recognizing the attributes of length, volume, weight, area and time
- Comparing and ordering objects according to these attributes
- Understanding how to measure using nonstandard and standard units
- Selecting an appropriate unit and tool for the attribute being measured
- Measuring with multiple copies of units of the same size, such as paper clips laid end to end
- Using tools to measure
- Using repetition of a single unit to measure something larger than the unit, for instance, measuring the length of a room with a single meter stick
- Developing common referents for measures to make comparisons and estimates

## Wonderful Worms

### Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

#### Step 1: Gather materials.

**Measuring worms**(use the worms that are approximately one inch long)

**Objects to measure**(lengths and widths—objects should be bigger than the length of a worm)

**Recording sheets**with pictures of the measurable objects on the left side and a space with each colored worm at the top of the page, with spaces below to place the number of worms. Each colored worm is a different length, so the children will be measuring each object using the various colored worms.

**Note**: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

#### Step 2: Introduce activity.

**Show**the children the worms and let them hold the worms and play with them a bit.**Ask**them what they notice about the worms. “Which colored worm is the**shortest**? Which colored worm is the**longest**?”- Give the children a set of five worms (red, yellow, green, blue and purple) and have them put the worms in order from the
**shortest**to the**longest**. **Explain**to the children that their activity will be to measure items around the classroom, using the worms as**measurement tools**.

#### Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

**Model**how to**measure**an object using the worms and recording results on a sheet.**Say**: “I am going**measure**the**width**of the table. The**width**is the**distance**across, side to side. First, I am going to use the blue worms to**measure**the**width**of the table.**How many**blue worms do you think the**width**of the table will be?”**Explain**and**model**how to put the worms end to end when**measuring**.**Say**:**width**of the table is 16 blue worms**long**. Now let’s**measure**the**width**using the green worms. Do you think the**width**of the table will be**more**green worms or**less**green worms?”- After you have
**measured**the**width**of the table using all of the different-colored worms, write your findings in the spaces on the recording sheets.**Say**: “The**width**of the table is 16 blue worms. The**width**of the table is 11 green worms.” Next to the picture of the table and under the color blue, write the number 16 or draw 16 blue worms. Next to the picture of the table and under the color green, write the number 11 or draw 11 green worms. - Give the children the worms and a recording sheet and let them start
**measuring**.**length**or the**width**of an object, but not both. - Once the children are done
**measuring**all of their objects, gather them onto the rug to**compare**their answers.**more**of the**shorter**worms than it does the**longer**worms when**measuring**the objects.**Ask**: “Why do you think that is?”

**Additional Extensions**

- Have the children use worms of different colors to measure an object and then have them record their findings.
**Say**: “The**width**of the table was one green, three blue, three yellow and four red worms**long**.”

- Have the children find the
**difference**between the colored worms used to measure the objects.**Ask**: “What is the**difference**between the 16 blue worms and the 11 green worms?”

#### Step 4: Vocabulary.

**Measure**:**measure**how many blue worms the robin’s tail is.”)**How many**:**How many**blue inchworms long is the robin’s tail?”)**Distance**:**distance**from where we are sitting to the door.”)**Width**:**width**of the bed.”)**Length**: The longest extent of anything as measured from end to end (e.g.,”The**length**of the table is 22 yellow worms.”)**Shortest**:**shortest**?”)**Longest**:**longest**?”)**More**:**more**green worms or less green worms?”)**Less**: A value that is smaller in number (e.g.,”Now let’s measure the width using the green worms, which are longer than the blue worms. Do you think the width of the table will be more green worms or**less**green worms?”)

#### Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

##### Adapt Lesson for Toddlers

###### Toddlers may:

- Have difficulty multitasking and concentrating on one objective
- Struggle to form their numbers

###### Child care providers may:

- Have the children measure an object with worms of only color
- Have the children draw the number of worms that they used to measure the objects

##### Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers

###### Preschoolers may:

- Easily measure objects using worms of one color
- Be able to multitask and record the different-colored worms that they use to measure

###### Child care providers may:

- Have the children use worms of different colors to measure an object and then have them record their findings. “The
**width**of the table was one green, three blue, three yellow and four red worms**long**.” - Have the children find the
**difference**between the colored worms used to measure the objects.**Ask**: “What is the**difference**between the 16 blue worms and the 11 green worms?”

### Suggested Books

by John Sweeney and Annette Cole (New York: Dragonfly Books, 2002)*Me and the Measure of Things*by B. G. Hennessy (New York: Puffin, 1990)*The Dinosaur Who Lived in My Backyard*By Keith Faulkner*Tallest, Shortest, Longest, Greenest, Brownest Animal in the Jungle*!

### Music and Movement

### Outdoor Connections

**Use the children as nonstandard units of measurement** to measure distances outside. **Ask**: “How many children long is the playground? How many children is the distance between that tree and the sidewalk?”

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