Some time ago we suggested a few books that are great for exploring measurement concepts in primary grades. Now we’re at it again. Like the others, these books don’t make the learning didactic, such as reciting units of measurement and their conversions. Young children need opportunities to think through math and measurement concepts in everyday situations. One of the best ways to do this is through the books that they love to read and the natural dilemmas that arise in them.
Here are a few more high-quality children’s books that are great for starting measurement discussions and activities.
The Line Up Book by Marisabina Russo
Children often love to make lines out of objects. The line could start with their shoes, stretching across the room, or it even could be Legos that create a line upwards. This colorful story book is the tale of Sam and his particular quest to see how long his line can go using boots, trucks, cars, books, and about anything else he can get his hands on. The story tells something that children can relate to, and it also is a great way to discuss units and how they can affect a task. Sam may discover how his line is affected when he goes from using matchbox cars to using something longer like trucks or his parent’s boots. The length he is creating in his line is full of different units that can start a great conversation with children.
Is It Larger? Is It Smaller? by Tana Hoban
Particularly great for younger children, Tana Hoban’s simple and effective photographic picture books always invite thinking and exploration in whatever concepts that are inherent in the book. In this case, children can wrestle with comparison and that most important of concepts, attributes. Each page can start a new discussion involving size with engaging objects and places that children naturally find fun to talk about. From rainy days to fire trucks, kids will see the math in all kinds of scenes.
One Bean by Anne Rockwell
This engaging picture book begins with a common science activity, planting a seed, but it integrates mathematical concepts such as growth and change. With simple language and illustrations this book outlines the exciting experience of measuring a bean plant’s growth over time. Conversations about comparing heights is a natural direction to go from there, while making guesses about future plant heights could become a great way to reinforce number sense with children.
Balancing Act by Ellen Stoll Walsh
One type of measurement that hasn’t been discussed is weight! Here is a charming picture book that involves two mice on a teeter-totter. Like Room on the Broom and other picture books that involve problems involving weight, it can turn silly and fun when animal after animal pile on, but this one can also demonstrate the important concept of equivalence.