Measuring Imprints Outside

Early Years (Age 3 – 6)

Curriculum Goal

Kindergarten: Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviour

  • Retell experiences, events, and familiar stories in proper sequence (e.g., orally; in new and creative ways; using drama, visual arts, non-verbal communication, and representations; in a conversation) (1.10)
  • Select an attribute to measure (e.g., capacity), determine an appropriate non-standard unit of measure, and measure and compare two or more objects (16.1)
  • Investigate strategies and materials used when measuring with non-standard units of measure (16.2)

Kindergarten: Belonging and Contributing

  • Develop an awareness of the ways in which people adapt to the places in which they live (28.3)
  • Identify similarities and differences between local environments (29.1)
  • Describe what would happen if something in the local environment changes (e.g., if trees in a park were cut down, if the pond dried up) (29.2)


  • Introduce the idea of imprints around us — in the snow, sand, grass, or mud.
  • The educator should point out that impressions are human or animal footprints on the grounds surface.


  • Imprint to measure (human or animal) \
  • Yarn
  • Unifix cubes
  • Measuring tapes



  • Have a full-class discussion about human and animal imprints 
    • What do the students know about imprints? 
    • What can imprints look like? 
    • Where do you see animal imprints? Where do you see human imprints? 
    • What type of animal imprints have you seen? 
  • Take the class outside to search for imprints in the snow, sand, or mud. 
  • Once an imprint has been found:
    • Talk about the shape of the imprint
    • Discuss if students think it is a human or animal imprint.
    • What animal do students think made that shape in the ground?
  • Draw students’ attention to the direction of the imprint.
    • Ask which direction they believe the imprint is going. How are they making this determination?
  • Guide students to measure the imprint using yarn, unifix cubes, or measuring tapes.
  • Have students observe and record the shape, size, depth, and width of each imprint.

Look Fors

  • What prior knowledge are students bringing to the class discussion that can aid in our understanding of imprints?
  • Are students able to measure accurately (e.g., measure the entire length or circumference of the imprint)?
  • Do students see a correlation between the size of an imprint and the animal or human that created it?

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