Kitchen scales bring math to life. None threatening. Almost unnoticed. Naturally.
When our oldest was five years old we replaced our familiar preschool bucket balance scale (the simple one which determined lightest and heaviest without numerical connection) with a $9.99 kitchen scale from Walmart. The minute the box opened items were placed on the scale: a potato, a toy car, a box of tea bags, mom's slipper. Anything that could be weighed was. Even liquids were weighed, thanks to the nifty plastic bucket which could be placed on the scale. Which is heavier, the potato or the slipper? Which weighs more, a cup of sugar or a cup of rice? By the end of the day, our son knew how to read a mechanical kitchen scale, purely due to his interest in our new found measuring tool.
We've also had opportunities to use digital scales. Experiences with digital scales has offered a nonthreatening opportunities to teach greater and less than using decimals. Decimal scales also sparked an interest in adding decimals; a concept often not introduced until third or fourth grade but understandable when taught earlier with real life application.
Eighteen years and six children later, our mechanical kitchen scale continues to be one of our favorite measuring tools. Our scale introduced and helped us to express comparison of weight, measurement terminology, measurement conversion, and number operations using weight units. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of using our scale has been our children having the opportunity to once again take math off a one dimensional page and apply it to their very active lives.
Our children want to know more about scales? Click here!