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Facing Up

Carol Midgett
Location: unknown

In this lesson, students create a map of their face and practice locating different parts using the geometric and measurement concepts they have learned in previous lessons, including location, navigation, spatial relationships, and measurement with nonstandard units. Students reproduce their face and describe it to reinforce their knowledge and skills of measuring and mapping. Using these familiar territories connects mathematics with daily encounters.

To prepare students for the activity, draw a picture of your face with your eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth, ears, and hairline as you look in a mirror. Include glasses or other distinguishing features. Modeling this activity on the overhead or a large sheet of paper taped to the board enables students to follow the sequence of steps and the procedures.

Discuss what you did to determine where to locate the various components of your face. Use mental and visual measurement strategies related to a concrete example that young children can understand, such as, it is about three finger-widths between my eyes.

pdficonArrows for Mapping Your Face Activity Sheet 

Distribute the Arrows for Mapping Your Face Activity Sheet to students. If you reproduce the arrows on sturdy paper, students can cut them out and use them to place the objects on their “face map” using the arrows as a guide.

Group students in pairs. Give each pair of students a mirror. Ask the students to draw a picture of their face that includes all its parts, especially the features that make it unique. Remember to be sensitive to students who might be embarrassed by their distinguishing features, such as freckles. Have students label the parts of their face with the labels provided in the Parts of My Face Activity Sheet.

pdficonParts of My Face Activity Sheet 

Finally, pair students and have each partner lead the other on a guided tour of his or her face using directional and positional words. Move about the room listening as students share, teaching and coaching as needed. Then select several students to guide the class around the map of their face.

Assessment Option

You may choose to use the Class Notes recording sheet to document student progress in this unit.

Questions for Students 

  1. How did you decide where to place your eyes? Ears? Nose? Mouth? Teeth?
  2. What tools did you use to help you decide about the placement of the parts of your face?
  3. Describe for me how to travel from your neck to your right ear using words to describe the direction you travel and/or words to describe the position of parts of your face as related to other parts.
  4. Can you tell your neighbor how to travel from your hair to your chin?
  5. Tell how you would give directions to someone who wants to travel from your left ear to your right ear.
  6. What is the most interesting path you could travel on the face? Why is it the most interesting?

Teacher Reflection 

  • Are all students gaining confidence in measuring length? Which are ready for new challenges? Which need more practice?
  • Which students demonstrated an understanding of spatial relationships by placing the parts of their face in reasonable proximity to each other? Which did not? What learning experiences do they need next?
  • What other objects could students map to give them practice with the key mathematical knowledge and skills of this lesson?
  • How could I integrate the knowledge and skills learned in this lesson in other subjects I teach in our class?

Measuring with Teacher’s Feet

In this lesson, students use nonstandard units to measure the distance between objects found in their classroom. They create a nonstandard unit by using an outline of the teacher’s foot and cutting around it to use as a “measurer.” Students generate a list of four or five objects in the classroom from which they will measure the distance to their work space.

Measuring with Our Foot

Students measure the same distances as in the previous lesson using an outline cutout of their own foot. This enables students to practice using nonstandard units and to compare the measurement totals using their feet and the teacher’s foot.

Learning to Measure with Ladybug

The mathematical foci of this lesson are geometric concepts, location, navigation, direction, and spatial relationships and measurement concepts, using nonstandard units to measure a distance, and the iteration of units, measurement by using the same unit of measure repeatedly to determine the total. Students practice measuring with multiple units and a single unit following the methods modeled by the teacher and those appropriate for their level of understanding.

Helping Ladybug Hide with Arrows and Angles

In this lesson, students use an applet (technology tool) to hide a ladybug under a leaf. This requires experimentation, planning, and understanding of spatial relationships and visual memory.

Handy Map

This lesson engages students in creating a map of their hands. It provides purpose for using directional or positional words with mapping. The teacher draws a map of his or her hands and begins mapping them using words the students suggest. This allows the teacher to assess positional concepts students currently know and to build on that knowledge. Students create a simple map.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Apply spatial skills (visualization and memory) in creating a map by placing the component parts of their face in relationship to one another.
  • Use directional/positional words to describe paths of navigation and relationships among various regions.

NCTM Standards and Expectations

  • Recognize, name, build, draw, compare, and sort two- and three-dimensional shapes.
  • Describe, name, and interpret relative positions in space and apply ideas about relative position.
  • Describe, name, and interpret direction and distance in navigating space and apply ideas about direction and distance.
  • Find and name locations with simple relationships such as "near to" and in coordinate systems such as maps.

Common Core State Standards – Mathematics

-Kindergarten, Measurement & Data

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.MD.A.1
    Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.

-Kindergarten, Geometry

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.G.A.1
    Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.

Grade 1, Measurement & Data

  • CCSS.Math.Content.1.MD.A.2
    Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps. Limit to contexts where the object being measured is spanned by a whole number of length units with no gaps or overlaps.