You may also like

Hand Span

Use your hand span to measure the distance around a tree trunk. If you ask a friend to try the same thing, how do the answers compare?

Measure for Measure

This article, written for students, looks at how some measuring units and devices were developed.

Sizing Them Up

Can you put these shapes in order of size? Start with the smallest.

Measure Our Heights

Age 5 to 7 Challenge Level:

Measure Our Heights

This boy is trying to find out how tall the girl is.  I think he is finding it hard.


This little girl is trying to find out how long the boy is.  She is trying a different method but is still finding it difficult.

What things might they be finding hard?
Can you find a better way to find out the height of a friend?
What will you use? Try it and see how tall they are.
Can you give answers in m as well as cm ?
Photograph Acknowledgements

Why do this problem?

This problem gives pupils the opportunity to find ways of measuring friends' heights, trying to avoid difficulties.  The questions also encourage them to think about the units they are using.

Possible approach

Talk to the children about measuring heights of people, to find out what experiences they have had. Lead them then to consider the two pictures and the difficulties that the boy and girl are having. Discuss these difficulties and encourage them to offer suggestions as to how they think they could do it more accurately. 

Give learners the opportunity to try out their own ideas and after a suitable length of time, bring everyone together to share their methods.

If it has not come up naturally, you could then lead the group in a discussion about the units they have used and challenge them to convert centimetres to metres and vice versa.

Key questions

How did you do the measuring?
What is that measurement in metres and centimetres?  How do you know?

Possible support

Have available as many different pieces of measuring equipment that you can to try and pre-empt the children's methods.  Do try to accommodate any unusual requests!