## Monday, June 3, 2013

### Measurement

Meet Oliver, my parents' new dog!  Me Too LOVES dogs.  They are his number one fascination.  He gets it from my husband.  I, on the other hand, am not a fan so we won't be getting one.  Fortunately the boys can live vicariously through my parents.  That's the best kind of dog...one that lives at someone else's house.  However, in all honesty Oliver is  *wonderful* dog.  He is so wonderful he even makes me like him and want to bring him home.  In the photo Me Too and my Mom are measuring Oliver with a ruler.  Oliver was very patient.

Me Too picked out the book Measuring Puppies and Kittens at the library by himself.  He was delighted with the pictures and enjoyed learning about the different parts of a puppy or kitten one can measure and the different ways you can measure them.  The book explores standard and non-standard measurement.

When I read the book to him I couldn't help thinking that this was such a "school" kind of book.  A child needs to learn what a 12-inch ruler and a yardstick are.  They need to learn how to put the "zero" end at the very edge of what they intend to measure and need to learn how to accurately find the number representing the measurement even when the ruler or yardstick isn't up against a flat edge. Even when you are measuring something bumpy or wiggly like a puppy.  The book does a good job of explaining those things. The photographs are well thought out and excellent.  However, it is just such a "school" concept to learn about this in a book.  It seems so silly to show a child a photograph of a ruler and a yardstick instead of an actual ruler and yardstick.  It seems so sterile to show a child how to line the ruler up on paper instead of holding Me Too's hand while he measured an actual object. Which way is the child more likely to understand and remember? Now, most school teachers know this too and their many students explore their classrooms armed with their own rulers and yardsticks and measure real objects.  Which makes me ask the question "who is this book for?"  In fact, I chuckled when I searched for book images and found the book listed on a website called Awful Library Books.  It wasn't there for the reasons that came to my mind however.  It is listed there because it is an Australian website and they are decrying stocking a book that measures in inches in a country that uses the metric system.

What the book DID do (other than be super cute, which it is) was spark an interest in measurement for Me Too.  I did arm him with his own ruler and yardstick and he measured  things inside the house and out.  It also inspired a "fieldtrip" to go see Oliver who patiently allowed Me Too to measure his height, his tail, his body length, and even his head.