In this lesson, children will explore their own growth over the course of a school year.
Growth and Change
This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:
- Understand that living things grow and change
- Understand that living things rely on the environment and/or others to live and grow
After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:
- Observing, investigating, describing and categorizing living things
- Showing an awareness of changes that occur in oneself
- Describing and comparing the basic needs of living things
- Showing respect for living things
Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers
Step 1: Gather materials.
- Masking tape
- Chart paper
- Butcher paper
- Measuring tape
Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.
Step 2: Introduce activity.
- In a large group, explain that we will be observing ourselves throughout the school year.
- Discuss how tall we are, how our height changes as we grow and how we are each a different height and will grow to different heights.
- Brainstorm to figure out how we can find out how tall we are, guiding the children to document heights on a wall.
Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.
- Separate the children into small groups at the beginning of the school year and invite them to measure their heights by standing against a wall, with a teacher assisting by placing a piece of masking tape on the wall at the top of their heads.
- Using a measuring tape, invite children to measure and document their heights on a piece of chart paper, with a row for each child’s name and the number of times throughout the year that measurements will be taken (at least six data points).
- After each measurement, help the children mark their height measurements on pieces of butcher paper. Invite the children to draw life-sized versions of themselves on the paper to represent their heights.
- Repeat this process throughout the school year. Before each measurement, ask the children to predict how they might have grown.
- After measuring, discuss what the children have noticed. How did your height change? What will happen when we measure again in a month?
- At the end of the year, review all of the children’s height drawings on butcher paper to see how their height has changed over time.
Step 4: Vocabulary.
- Predict: To guess what might happen
- Observe: To watch with the purpose of identifying changes or behaviors
- Document: To write down observations that can be used to identify changes or similarities over time
- Growth: How a living thing develops over time
Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.
Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
- Not yet have comparative and/or measurement language
- Not yet recall and connect all past experiences throughout a school year
Child care providers may:
- Plan shorter times for measurement, rather than a full school year, or use one data point to discuss height
- Engage in frequent discussions about how we grow and what we need to continue to grow
- Include families in measuring children at home to extend these discussions
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
- Want to explore other factors beyond height in how they are growing
- Make connections to other living things that grow
- Be beginning to use standard measurement
Child care providers may:
- Encourage children to think about ways to track their growth, such as measuring the length of their arm or leg or taking measurements to see how their hair grows over time
- Encourage the children to track the growth of other living things
- Introduce aspects of standard measurement, while continuing to use common classroom items to measure with nonstandard units
- Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan A. Shea
- How Tall was a T-Rex? by Alison Limentani
- Every Breath We Take by Maya Ajmera
Music and Movement
- Plant and care for an outdoor garden, making connections to how all living things grow
- Take a neighborhood walk to look for living things and observe how they may have changed over time
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