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Science Kids on the Loose

This week’s Sid cycle, Tools and Measurement, is one of my old favorites. If you haven’t tried the fun hands-on activities in this cycle you can find them here. As I looked online at the activities, I was struck by the flood of great Sid memories. I remember writing about Henry and his potty chart, Leo’s fascination with Rolie Polies, the shock I had watching the boys tackle estimation, and finally, conducting our first Sid investigation when I measured our living room in “Henrys”. I love revisiting these fun times and I am proud that so many of our memories over the past couple of years are tied to learning science with Sid.
Now I want to take these things we learned a little but farther. Henry and Leo are getting older and they are ready for me to take these foundations from Sid and start building. I want to expand on some of the familiar investigations, using the old as a foundation for the new. This week I tried it out with measurement.
Every year, right around the boys’ birthdays, I have them stand up against our big wooden bookcase and mark how tall they are. The kids are always excited to see how much they have grown.

Usually, we just make the mark, compare it to the last, and go on to another thing. But this year, we pulled out the measuring tape. I have the small-kid sized tool for the boys to use, but a large one would have been fine. After measuring Leo, I asked him to see how many inches he measured with the tape. Henry held it steady at the bottom while Leo pulled the tape out.

“What does a 4 and 3 make, mommy?” Leo asked
“Forty three inches,” I replied. Then, of course, I asked Leo to record his information.

Leo is just learning how to write his numbers and I love how he worked so hard on the number 3. It isn’t easy to write the number 3! I made the double tic marks to show him how to record inches. Then we were talking about inches and feet. It isn’t as simple to explain as I thought it would be! Thank goodness, I could remind them about nonstandard units of measurement and they made the connection.
After Henry measured and recorded his own height, I invited the boys to measure other things around the house and record the information in inches. I wasn’t too concerned with accuracy; I only wanted them to practice with the tool and record numbers.

I am very pleased to report that this activity kept the boys busy for a very long time. They ran around the house measuring the couch, the kitchen chairs, the floor tiles, and the television. They even measured a Lego!

Who knew that such an educational exercise could keep two young boys engaged for so long! I have to say that these are my favorite kinds of investigations. After a while, the boys were all measured out. I am already thinking of ways to take this activity further by comparing measurements and solving simple addition and subtraction problems.
Clearly, the foundations the Sid Investigations provided are helping my kids grow and expand in new directions. I have been worried about the day when Henry and Leo grow out of Sid the Science Kid. Now I realize that isn’t really ever going to happen. We won’t leave Sid behind; we’ll just take him with us.
Have you ever taken a Sid investigation in another direction? How have the foundations Sid teaches helped your children?

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