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This is an activity based on the picture book Ernest.

Achievement Objectives
GM1-1: Order and compare objects or events by length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), turn (angle), temperature, and time by direct comparison and/or counting whole numbers of units.
Specific Learning Outcomes
  • Students will be able to compare the areas of paper required to create life size drawings of different sized objects.
  • Students will be able to describe the relative size of objects using a vocabulary of length and area (such as bigger, taller, small, thin, wider).
Description of Mathematics

Area can be the 2 dimensional space covered within the outline of a 3 dimensional object.

Objects can be compared and ordered according to the area covered within their outlines.

Required Resource Materials
  • Tape
  • Scrap paper sorted into sizes (eg A4, square memo cube paper, A3)
  • Ernest by Catherine Rayner
  • Felts or crayons
  • Soft toys of various sizes (students can bring one each from home)

Our Area Book

This activity is based on the picture book Ernest

Author: Catherine Rayner
Illustrator: Catherine Rayner
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books (2009)
ISBN: 978 0 230 712553

Ernest is a large moose who can’t fit in this book because the pages are too small for a drawing of his whole body. His friend comes up with an idea to increase the area of a page and thereby enable ALL of Ernest to appear on a page.

Lesson Sequence:

  1. Prior to reading, create a vocabulary poster of words related to size especially when comparing two objects. Show the students two stuffed toys that are different sizes and shapes. Discuss how they are different. Record words such as bigger, smaller, wider, longer on a poster page or modeling book page with a small picture cue beside each word. Talk about what size of blanket each toy would need to be covered in their bed.
    How wide would the blanket need to be? Show me with your hands.
    How long would the blanket need to be? How could we check?
    Let's draw this blanket on a piece of paper and cut it out to see if we’re right.
  2. Share the story with your students emphasizing the comparison vocabulary. At the end of the story ask
    How did Ernest’s friend solve the problem?
    How many pieces of paper did they need to make a page for Ernest?
  3. Tell students we are going to create a book for their stuffed toys they have brought to school and we need to make pages for each toy so that they “fit into the book.”
  4. Model how to make a “blanket” of pieces of paper big enough for the toy to lay on top of without any parts hanging over. Then tape the pieces of paper together and count how many were needed. Record the number on the “page”. Then lay the toy down on the paper and trace an outline around the toy. Fill in the colours and features.
  5. Ask students to create a page that would be the right size for their toy. After taping, outlining and adding features to their drawing, students can write or narrate a sentence about their toy using words from the vocabulary poster. Example: This is my bear Rosie. She is a small bear with big feet. She is longer than Neesha’s Smurf.
  6. Put the pages together in a book for the class. It will be an odd/interesting book because the pages will be different sizes.
  7. An extension of this activity can be to create a Class Book made up of pages created from an outline of each student drawn onto a “page” made from scrap sheets of A4 paper taped together. Discussions about “how many sheets wide” and “how many sheets long” can inform the early development of the concept of area without using standard units.
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Level One