A scientist must learn to accurately
describe objects that he/she is studying. A glass of water, for
instance, might be described as a "clear cylindrical container,
of 250 ml. capacity containing about 200 ml. of a clear, colorless,
odorless liquid of unknown identity."
First graders do not yet have the
vocabulary to make that detailed a description, but they can begin to
use words that describe shape, size, color, smell, and feel. They can
also begin to understand that "big" and "little"
are good descriptive terms, but sometimes additional measurements are
necessary. Measurements help us distinguish between a big elephant and
a big house.
In this activity, students will measure
their own height and weight in either metric or English (depending on
your comfort level). (Metric measurement is strongly recommended).
Parent volunteers able to help students with this lab are ideal.
- Request from parents prior to lab,
the use of bathroom scales.
- Record all the students name on the
worksheet provided. Put the date for each of the weight and height.
You will redo this exercise 6 months later to have students see if
they have grown.
- Give each group of students a ruler
and a tape measure. Set-up stations in the classroom with the bathroom
scale. At each station students will measure their weigh and record it
on the sheet next to their name.
- There are several ways in which
students can measure their height. You can have one student that is to
be measured to stand with his/her back tot he wall. The other student
should make a tick mark with the pencil horizontal with the head.
Illustrate how to do this with children. You can either have them
measure the tick mark by using the ruler and figure out how to add the
rulers or you can have a pre-measured wall.
With a metric ruler or meter stick mark
centimeter increments on the paper. You may want to have students also
measure in the English system.
- Students should weight themselves
first. You may have a difficult time to find a metric scale in the
United States, so you may use pounds. Make sure the students read the
scale with the aid of an adult. Students will need guidance on how to
read the scale. Write the amount on a piece of paper and tell the
student that they will record the weight next to their height on the
After all the students have been
weighed and measured have the students predict whether they will grow
and gain weight in the next several months. Roll up the large sheets
of paper and save these with the student's lab sheets for several
months. In 3-6 months repeat this lab and model how to do the
conclusion. This lab works well if done at the beginning of the year
and then again at the end of the year.