We began our main lesson this morning with what I call a brainstorm board. I took a large 18" X 24" sheet of paper and attached it to a slightly larger clip board and wrote Measurement across the top. I then asked the boys to come up with various things we measure; they offered length, width, height, weight, volume, speed/velocity (something we won't get into during this block), and time. Together we came up with money, distance, mass (a better term than weight), and temperature. This poster is put up on the family room wall for reference during the block.
I did the brainstorm board because we unschooled most of grade 3 and because the boys have already gone through the developmental phase of being very interested in measurement. It helps me see how much they already know and thus gives me a starting place for the block rather than assuming that all of the material is brand new.
I also asked the boys to tell me various units of measurement (inches, cups, miles, hours, etc.) and sent them to find several instruments of measurement in the house. They brought me measuring cups and spoons, a ruler and yardstick, a scale, a clock, and a tape measure. They really enjoyed finding these items; it gave them an opportunity to think creatively and to move around.
Our afternoon lesson for this block is gardening. Eventually the plan is to bring in measurement as hands-on learning, but for today we did some weeding and added compost to our garden beds. (It occurs to me that most people probably don't live where they can garden year round.)
Main Lesson: Measurement
Afternoon Lesson: Gardening
Skills Practice: Typing and Multiplication Tables
Continuing Practice: Addition with Regrouping
Concepts Awakened: Adjectives
Other Subjects: Reading and Social Studies (A History of US)