A Matter of Distance & Why it Matters

As told in a previous post, we are now home schooling our boys.

So when I’m tasked to teach about distance and measurement I take the opportunity to make it real.

I have been designing and building our chicken yard recently and in the eleventh hour I made an alteration to the design as you will come to see.

“This is the design I did for the chicken yard.” I tell the Little Fellas.

“There are two ways to get to the yard to collect the eggs. So this eraser represents a three metre length (~ 3 yards)”. I say holding the eraser against the rough sketch I made on a notepad. “The same length as the sleepers I have in the backyard for making the retaining walls.”

We measure out the two ways you can get to our soon to be chicken yard using the eraser as our 3 metre representation.

“So one path is 15 metres in distance going the long way around the raised gardens from the top of the stairs. The other way is . . . ” We measure it out.

“The other way is 9 metres from the top of the stairs. So one way is shorter than the other. It’s six metres shorter.” We are learning subtraction also. ✓

I encourage the Little Fellas to follow me in the story and consider things a little further.

“Where the chicken coop is going, is not going to be in the middle of the chicken yard. There are two yards separated by the coop. One is long, the other short. In my first design I had the coop closer to the fish pond and as we’ve measured it, it is 15 metres from the top of our steps and pretty much in the middle of the garden. The coop doesn’t have to go there. We could swap the long yard with the short one and move the coop closer to the other side of the garden. What if we did that?”

distance pp

We measure out the distance it would take to get to the chicken coop if we switched the yards and the coops location.

“6 metres.”

“So we now have a 15 metre walk or a 6 metre walk. We’ve reduce a potential return walk of 30 metres down to 12 metres.”

The Littlest Little Fella speaks his mind, as he is apt to do.

“But what if we like going the other way Daddy? Through the garden beds.”

“You can always still do that. But you try to tell me that you’re going to be happy to do that when you want a nice hot egg for breakfast and it’s pouring with rain outside.”

The eldest Little Fellas face twitched. He saw the logic of time and distance immediately. He is our chicken carer.

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