“Okay, I need you to hold this end of the tape measure right here; right here on this mark. While you hold that, I’m going to stretch it out and we’ll see how many inches it is to that mark over there.”
As I set the tape measure down on the block of wood I had put in place a moment ago, I said, “Okay, now come down here and let’s see how many inches it shows.”
As my six-year-old granddaughter moved with a bit of swagger in her little step to where I was standing, I quickly moved to her previous location and put the tape back on the mark. She was close, but still… I moved back to where I started and we both looked down at the markings on the ruler.
“Okay, what number is that?”
She looked. I looked. She continued to look. I waited until the point of frustration, then prompted, “What’s the first number?”
“What’s the second?”
“And the third?”
“Three,” she said. Then, seconds later, “One hundred and three!”
“High five!” I exclaimed, as her face, broad with a smile, looked up at me. “That’s right, one hundred three,” I told her. “That’s exactly what we wanted it to be!”
My oldest granddaughter and I, with a little help from my long-deceased friend Pythagoras, were checking to make sure the corner of the wall for the catio I was building was square.
No, she doesn’t have a clue what the Pythagorean theorem is, and no, she doesn’t fully comprehend what 103 inches means. She is, however, beginning to understand she can use that long springy thing to measure how far away something is. I’ll take that for now, and later we’ll work on the rest. And don’t worry, we’ll wait until at least the second grade before we start with power tools!
An aside: A “catio,” in case you didn’t know, is basically a fenced room on one’s deck or porch. Yes, it’s for the cats. Do my daughter and her husband spoil their cats? Ya think?