Today’s advent tree reading was about David and Goliath. (Well, when I say “today,” I mean the one we did today, which was the reading for December 11th. But if we do two tomorrow, we’ll be caught up!) The story of David and Goliath is by far my boys’ favorite Bible story because it includes their favorite elements – war, weapons, and killing a big guy by throwing a rock.

We are in between math curricula (we’re going to start this one, and I’m very excited about it), so I figured we might as well turn Goliath’s height into a math activity! This was a great chance to cover non-standard units as well as measuring in feet and inches.

We got out our big paper roll to measure Goliath’s height on. 1 Samuel 17:4 says that Goliath was six cubits and a span, and the notes in my Bible said that that is about 9 ft. 9 inches. A “cubit” is the length from your elbow to the end of your middle finger – about 18 inches. A span is the span of your hand – about 9 inches. We used my arm for the measurement, although at 5′ 1″ I’m not exactly average! I asked Aidan how we should measure the 6 cubits. He suggested putting my arm on the paper, and then he could mark each cubit with a pencil. I suggested using something else for the length – like a piece of string the length of my arm, although the arm method would work! We ended up using Trios to build a rod the length of my arm.

We rolled out a big length of paper, and I had each boy guess where Goliath’s height would be on the paper. We marked their guesses. Then, we measured the 6 cubits and a span. After that, we measured out 9 ft. 9 inches using a ruler. The 9 ft. 9 inches was the greater measurement by about 6 inches (no surprise there since I’m so short!). It was fun to see how tall Goliath was! The boys were impressed that he was taller than our 8 ft. ceilings, by quite a bit!

This post linked to Math Links


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  1. Janet Dec 14, 2010

    What a fun way to learn both Bible and Math! Stopping by from the Hip Homeschool Hop. Enjoy your day!

  2. Rachel Dec 14, 2010

    What a fun way to bring the Bible alive to your boys - brilliant!

  3. Tiffany Dec 14, 2010

    What a fun idea!!! My boy loves the story of David and Goliath, too!
    Stopping by from the Homeschool Hop!

  4. Stephanie Bowman Dec 14, 2010

    Coming over from Hip Homeschool hop!

    I love when things just click and we can take one subject and turn it into many.

  5. Joy Dec 14, 2010

    What an awesome lesson! I will have to do this with my kids! Thanks for sharing! Stopping by from the Hip Homeschool Hop.

  6. Lindsay @ BytesOfMemory Dec 15, 2010

    What a great way to put Goliath's size into perspective for your boys! We will def have to do this activity when Sammy gets older.


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