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This activity offers an opportunity to combine skills from mathematics and science. Students are required to make estimates, understand and calculate with units, think about orders of magnitude, and find information to draw conclusions.
This printable worksheet may be useful: Place Your Orders.
Hand out this worksheet with all sets of quantities, and give students a few minutes on their own or in pairs to rank them in order of magnitude. Reassure students that at this stage, they do not need to perform any written calculations and it doesn't matter if they are unsure of their rankings.
Alternatively, you could use the Number of... category to look at together as a class, and then hand out this worksheet with Distance, Time and Speed, and/or this worksheet with Mass, Area and Volume.
Once they have finished, take each set of quantities and invite the different groups to present their rankings and reasoning. Ask the rest of the class to judge the different presentations on the strength of the evidence they have offered for their rankings.
What is precisely stated and what is not precisely stated?
What can be resolved by experiment? By measurement? By looking something up?
Reassure students that there are often no exact values (so no "wrong" answers), and their task is simply to find some evidence to convince others of the rankings. Encourage them to experiment, and offer some guidance on how to search for suitable data.
In Order has quantities to rank using simpler scientific contexts.