# 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?

## Problem

Image

Spread your fingers as wide as you
can,

What you have now is called a

**hand span**.A hand span can help you to find
out how big

Is the height of a cow, a horse or
a pig.

Use your hand span very carefully
and see

How many it takes to go right
round a tree.

Now get a good friend and make
this a game,

Compare if the number of spans
round the tree is the same.

Next find an adult and compare
their hand span too

To see if they use more or less
spans than you.

Now write down the answers and
think as hard as can be,

Why is it better to use a tape
measure like me?

Image

## Getting Started

It would be helpful to have many hands span pictures created by
each child cut out so that the "hand spans" can be laid
out side by side instead of the difficulty of the actual hands
being placed next to to other over and over again.

## Student Solutions

Harriet tried this problem out:

My hand's not as big as my mum's, so it took more spans to go round the tree. So if I told you how big the tree was, you might think that it was bigger than if my mum told you. So it's better to use a tape measure and use centimetres or something because then we'll all give the same answer.

## Teachers' Resources

### Why do this problem?

This is an engaging activity for the teacher to read out to young children as a start to exploring measurement and the need for standardised units.

### Possible approach

Read the poem and after a bit of discussion encourage pupils to get involved in practical explorations.

### Key questions

How many hands spans have you used?