Distance Match

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level


Distance Match


When we travel around, we often need to know how away different places are. In Austria you might see signs like this one:

And this stone marker in Wales shows the distances to Bridgend, Pyle and London in miles:

Here are some distances between cities in kilometres:
530.9,  655.2,  654.4,  540.1,  851.6 and 681.3

Here are the same distances in miles - but not in the same order:
423.3,  529.2,  335.6, 407.1,  329.9 and 406.6

Your first challenge is to match up pairs of distances (one in kilometres, one in miles) that are equal.

Your second challenge is to match the journeys above to the distance between each of these pairs of cities:

Rome to Milan
Geneva to Paris
London to Edinburgh
Milan to Paris
Berlin to Amsterdam
Monaco to Rome


Why do this problem?

This problem gives a context in which learners can become more familiar with units of distance and begin to convert between them. 


Possible approach



Start by talking with the children about the distance signs they may have noticed when on journeys. Some children may know that in some countries the distance is measured in miles and in others in kilometres. If not then introduce that information yourself. You may also need to explain the relationship between miles and kilometres (1km=$\frac{5}{8}$mile).

Give the group the information about the journey distances in miles and kilometres and invite them to talk to a partner about how they will match them up.  Share some ideas and perhaps work through an example together before giving children time to work in their pairs on the rest of the challenge. 

For the last part of the task, you will probably need to give learners time to do some paired research.

Key questions

Tell me how you got your answers.

Possible extension

Ask the children to create their own set of questions about the places in and around where they live.

Further extensions could be given concerning these journeys, where you give some information and ask them to find the rest.  For example:
  • Munbai to New York is 9768 miles, which of the following shows how far that is in kilometres [15720, 11555, 15633, 4099, 2722, 10465]?
  • Here are some distances between cities in kilometres: 15720, 15633, 2722, 10465, 4099, 11555.  Here are the same distances in miles but not in the same order: 6502, 1692, 2547, 9714, 7180, 9768.  Can you match them up?
These distances might be useful to you for further work:
Mumbai to New York - 9768 miles, 15720 km
Dar es Salaam to Sydney - 7180 miles, 11555 km
Jakarta to Ottawa - 9714 miles, 15633 km
Cape Town to Nairobi - 2547 miles, 4099 km
Melbourne to Perth - 1692 miles, 2722 km
Auckland NZ to San Diego - 6502 miles, 10465 km