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Comparing Weight: Lighter or Heavier

Use a School Readiness Activity to provide early mathematical thinking experiences for preschool children that will prepare them to do well in the early grades.
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Subjects:
Mathematics (5,300)

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Comparing Weight: Lighter or Heavier

Purpose/Skills
  • To compare light and heavy
  • To use the terms lighter, heavier, lighter than, and heavier than

Materials
Reference chart for models of light and heavy; light and heavy pretend bags of groceries; two boxes of the same dimensions that are light and heavy; Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Vocabulary
light     heavy
lighter heavier
lighter than     heavier than
compare weight

Literature Suggestion
Read Goldilocks and the Three Bears, retold by Jan Brett. As you read and show illustrations, talk to children about the size and weight of the bears and other objects. The great big bear was very heavy. The middle-sized bear was heavy, and the little bear was light. Look at how heavy that big bear looks sitting in his chair. Look at how light the basket of mushrooms looks. Look at how heavy the big bowls of porridge look. Ask children to help you identify heavy and light objects.

Warm-Up
Play "What Do You Think?" Ask children about objects in the room that are light and heavy. "Do you think that my desk is light or heavy?" (Have children test and check the weight of each item by trying to lift it.) "A paper? A crayon? A chair?"

Procedure

  • Invite children to look at the reference chart and identify the light bubble and the heavy boulder. Ask: How can we tell if something is light or heavy? (Lift to test the weight.)
  • Use the reference chart to teach children the meaning of lighter and heavier. When children are comfortable identifying lighter and heavier objects, teach them to use the terms lighter than and heavier than.
  • Learning sequence:
    • Here are two bags of groceries. One is light and one is heavy. How can we tell which is light and which is heavy? (Lift each)
    • Here are two boxes of blocks. One is lighter and one is heavier. How can we tell which one is lighter and which one is heavier? (Lift each)
Enrichment
Teach children the "Light as a Bubble" rhyme:

I'm light as a bubble as I float through the air.
(Make floating movements with body.)
I'm heavy as a boulder and I'm going nowhere.
(Bend self into a boulder and stay still.)


Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child can easily identify items as light and heavy, and uses the terms heavier than and lighter than.
  • In Process - Child can identify two items as light and heavy, but needs prompting for comparison.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child does not yet identify objects as light and heavy.

Excerpted from

School Readiness Activity Cards
Pearson Early Childhood
Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.

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