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Take One Metre

Age 5 to 7
Challenge Level

Take One Meter (Metre)


Use about 1 metre of paper (for example from a paper roll) and cut it into a few different lengths.

Lay each strip out flat.
How long is each strip?
If two are the same length can you cut them again to make different lengths.

Measure each length as carefully as possible.
Find a way of recording all the lengths of the pieces that you have made.

Why do this problem?
This problem gives opportunities for pupils to measure accurately. It therefore requires pupils to use  measuring equipment carefully. It may also be an opportunity for teachers to instigate and/or facilitate a discussion about ignoring the end part of a ruler but using all of a tape measure.

Possible approach

Hand out many lengths of about 1 metre, and scissors, to all the pupils, perhaps one per pair or small group. Have available as many different types of measuring equipment that you can so learners can choose which they use.  Be prepared for children to ask you for something else too and try to accommodate their request if possible.

Towards the end of the time you have, you could gather everyone together and try to order a selection of the strips of paper in terms of their lengths.

Key questions

How long are your pieces? How sure are you?
How could you record all the lengths of your group?

Possible extension

Recording the different lengths in some way could be quite a challenge. 

Possible support

Some children who struggle with fine motor skills may need help - watch out that other members of their group do not 'take over'!