Skills practiced: vocabulary for comparisons, place in space and time.
Needed: Three lines of different lengths drawn on a sheet of paper (or on a board or in the ground or . . .
Choose three people who are clearly different heights. Let them stand with their backs to one another and measure them. Who is taller? Discuss who is the tallest, the middle one, the shortest. Then divide everyone into groups of three. Give them time to compare heights.
Show each group a paper with three lines of different length. Are the lines on the paper in the same order (longest, middle, shortest) as the people? Group by group, have each group go to the front in a particular order. For example, the first group might have the tallest first, then the smallest and then the middle one. Everyone else checks whether the group is in the correct order.
Draw lines on a paper or board in this same order (tall/long, short, middle). Everyone else checks whether you have done this correctly.
Give the next group a different order. Everyone else checks whether they are in the correct order.
Variation 1: Play the game with stuffed toys, dolls, or even sticks or cups that are different heights.
Divide everyone into groups of three. One group arranges themselves in a certain order without saying what that order is. All the other groups have to arrange themselves in this same order. The first group checks to see whether they have all done it correctly.
Then another group gets to be “it” and choose the order as well as check the other groups. Continue until all groups have had a chance or people become tired of the game.
C2 How Heavy Is It?
Skills practiced: feeling—necessary for writing; reasoning—preparation for math.
Needed: find about 15 stones of different sizes and weights.
- Let one person hold a stone. Is it heavy?
- Give him another stone much lighter or heavier. Let him hold it. Have him describe the difference.
- Discuss what makes a stone heavier. It is bigger!
Can you think of something that is big but light? (a feather; a balloon)
And the opposite. Name something that is little but heavy.
- Divide into groups of four. Give each group four stones of different weights.
- Let each person in the group hold each of the four stones.
Then have them stand with their hands behind their backs.
- Give everyone one stone. Let them move to make a row ranging from heaviest to lightest. Let them stand in the right order without looking at their stones.
- Then check it. The ones standing in the right order get a big hurrah.
Use objects other than stones such as potatoes, books of different sizes, plastic bottles with different amounts of water in them, plastic bags filled with different amounts of rice . . . .
C3 Describe the Stone
Needed: one medium-size stone.
- Show the stone to the group. Describe it.
Use the words in like front, behind, hollow, color(s), smooth, rough, etc.
- Describe the place you found it and what time of day it was.
Use the words in front of, behind, meters, it is easy to find in daytime, difficult at night.
- Tie this into what is actually happening in real lives. (What time does it get dark now? How big is the moon today? Who fell over a stone last week?)
- Ask whether it is possible to find the same stone?
No, each stone is different.
- Ask everyone to find a stone about the same size. Point out that the shape can be very different.
- Ask everyone to remember where they found it as well as what time of day it was.
- Also ask them to bring the stone along next time!
C4 Your Stone (see above)
Needed: a few stones for those who might not bring one, also a piece of paper for everyone, with their name written on it.
- Make sure each person has a stone of their own. Let them close their eyes and feel their stone. Ask them questions like: is it big, is it smooth, is it sharp, is the upper side flat?
- Have two people describe their stones.
- Next ask: Where can you find stones? Have them describe several places, remembering to include the time needed to get there. (For example, there are nice stones in the river, but it would take a day to walk there.)
- Have two others tell where they found their stones.
Next ask: When do you have time to find a stone? After school, before dinner, when I worked in the field, etc.
- Have another two tell what time of the day it was.
- Give everyone a paper with their name written on it to put their stone on. Keep them for next time.
C5 Warm Stones
Skills practiced: sense of touch (necessary for writing); reasoning (necessary for math).
Needed: small or medium sized stones (bits of brick or concrete will also work as will metal spoons).
Long before the lesson, put one stone outside where it is cold; one in the room and one stone on the heat source for the room, where it gets hot.
Activity: Talk with the group about what happens when you put a stone outside, in the room or on the stove.
Discuss where it is warmer–in the house or in the barn (shed, garage . . .). Discuss how a building or home is heated, how it gradually gets warmer after the wood is burning, the heater is on, etc.
Then talk about the stones that you have put outside, inside and on the heat source. Ask which one will be warmer.
Collect the stones and let people touch them. Is it what they expected?
Put the three different stones on a table.
Let someone guess which one is hot, cold or medium.
Afterwards let him or her feel if he or shee was right.
This game can be played till the stones have lost their distinctive temperatures.
At the end everyone can choose where they want to put their own stones–in a warm place, a cold place, or a neutral place. Give them a few minutes to do so, and after doing something else they can collect their stones again.
- Warm Weather Version: The stone outside, in the sun will be the hottest, a stone might be chilled by putting it in a well, a stream or some other naturally cool place.
- End by discussing what people do when they are too cold (or too hot). This helps think through problem solving.
- Discuss why it is important to keep food cold. How can this be done without a refrigerator? And why do we store food in cold places but make food hot to cook it?
C6 Three Sticks (comparison)
Needed: branches or sticks of different sizes.
Show three different sizes of branches.
Discuss the special characteristics of each branch. Use words like long, short, thick, thin, smooth, tough, number of side branches.
Discuss the kind of a branch needed for a certain job. It must be familiar and used in daily life (a thick branch to put on a fire for cooking, a strong, flexible branch for carrying materials, a thin branch to…)
Let everyone tell which kind of branch she or he likes best.
Have each person bring this sort of branch next week. Use the branches in E1: My Stick as well as D4: Sticks and Stones.
Variation: Use other easy-to-find items such as spoons (wooden, plastic, metal, big . . .), empty plastic bottles, pens or pencils.