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We can do maths 15

Measurement - Were going to look at Position and Movement and Mass this week for Year 2.

Its going to be a short week for us so we are going to have to squeeze everything into 3 days.

We will be comparing mass, measuring in grams and kilograms. Next week we will be comparing capacity and looking at millilitres and litres and looking at temperature.


Year two mass and volume

Children learn at their own pace, and for Tiny that means two steps forward and one step back. He has made a good deal of progress with place value and is ready for Year three work in that area, but measurements are proving a little more difficult.

I am a firm believer that children learn at their own pace and by helping them fully understand a concept before moving on, they will have a greater knowledge and when it comes to the really tricky stuff, they will be able to cope a lot better. But saying that, Tiny still finds maths a struggle.


Position and Direction

This is what we need to cover next:

The National Curriculum states that in Year 2 children should learn about:- How to - Use mathematical vocabulary to describe position, direction and movement including movement in a straight line and distinguishing between rotation as a turn and in terms of right angles for quarter, half and three-quarter turns (clockwise and anti-clockwise). Order and arrange combinations of mathematical objects in patterns and sequences.

At first we are going to be looking at -

Describing movement

Describing turns

Describing movement and turns Making patterns with shapes.

For this I will be printing out a grid along with some alien figures (because we like aliens). We are going to make position and direction into a game.

I will put a blank grid on the website along with some little aliens, but use whatever images you want). https://www.whyplay.co/topics


Alien Game

We are going to use the language ‘forwards’, ‘backwards’, ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘left’ and ‘right’ to describe movement in a straight line.

Next, we will pick a starting point for our alien on the grid.

Now, player 1 will give directions for player two to follow to move their alien. They will have to look carefully to see if that move is possible.

You could say things like 'Move my alien up 2.'

You could make up all kinds of rules for this like if one alien lands on top of another then one alien is removed.

After going around the board a few times then I will tell Tiny he has to record the movements. I will also remind him that this is the same as when we were learning computer coding.

Next I will show him the alien movement and ask him to fill in the blank spaces.


Aliens moving

After making up some more problems for Tiny to answer I will put two aliens on the board. Then I will ask -

'How many different ways can Alien (A) travel to Alien (B)?' This is a good bit of problem solving as he will have to work out different routes. I will do the recording for him and help him check that he hasn't used the same route more than once.


This will give us a nice easy way into the week and we will return to it at the beginning of next week with turns and take it one step further.



Now to look at the main focus for this week which is Mass


Choose and use appropriate standard units to estimate and

measure mass (kg/g)

Compare and order mass, and record the results using >, < and =


We will be using my kitchen scales a lot this week, but first I need a balance scale.


Balance Scale:

I don't have one of those and I'm not going to buy one.

No, we will make a very simple one using a plastic coat-hanger, some string, a pole (we will be using the broom handle) and some plastic tubs or paper cups.

Secure the broom handle over two chairs and hook the coat hanger over it. Next attach the string to the tubs. Three lengths of string will hold the tubs better. Now attach the tubs to each side of the coat hanger. you now have a very basic balance scale.

Because this is a very crude balance scale we will only be able to compare small objects but I will still be asking him questions like -

Look at the scale, which side is lower?

What does this tell us about the objects?

Which object is heavier?

Which object is lighter?

Can you predict which object will be heavier?

We will be recording our findings using the < > and = symbols.


Kitchen Scales:

Now to move onto the kitchen scales.

My old kitchen scales were the electronic type. I have just recently bought old fashioned kitchen scales with the dial.


Kitchen Scales

Although we do a lot of cooking, Tiny still finds it difficult to read the dial on the scale.

I will need to reinforce the word grams.


We will estimate first and then weigh a variety of light objects one at a time.


Then we will start putting first one item on the scale and record its weight. Then we will add another item.

I will ask him how he could work out how heavy the second item was by taking away the mass of the first item.

This will be a practical way to use subtraction - I do expect him to need quite a bit of help with this.


We will be starting with weighing in grams before we introduce kilograms.

I will begin by asking questions like -

How much do you think one tin of beans weigh?

Explain why you think that.

Which is heavier, one gram or one kilogram?

What else do you think we might measure in kilograms?


I will ask if I would measure him in grams or kilograms.

We will look at how many grams are in one kilograms and I will ask him to write a poster in his book to help him remember.


So far we have had a very practical week and depending on his understanding from this we might start to look at some paper based problems relating to mass.


Problem Solving:


1. 8 bricks balance one apple.

10 bricks balance one pear.

If the apple and the pear were on the balance scale at the same time, how many bricks would you need to balance them?


2. There are 5 kg of oranges in one box.

How many kg of oranges are there in three boxes?


3. An egg has a mass of 50 grams.

Roughly how much do 6 eggs weigh?


4. Make a list of 10 things from the kitchen that are lighter than 1 kg.


Finally I will introduce the decimal point to his recording.

We will talk about is there an easier way to record 3 kg and 500 grams.

On a number line I will show how 500 grams is half a kg and talk about how we could record it as 3 and a half kg.

Then I will show him how to write it down as 3.5 kg


We will do this with different numbers and hopefully he will begin to see a pattern.


And of course we will be doing a lot of cooking this week to reinforce what we have learnt.


Next week, as well as position and direction we will be looking at capacity and temperature. If your going to join us then you will need to get some containers of different sizes.

We do hope you can join us then.

Remember WHY PLAY? because play is learning and learning is fun.