Ideas for teaching length

There are many different activities for teaching length. In this blog, I’m sharing a few tasks which not only work, but students actually enjoy.

  1. Broken Ruler: Andrea wanted to measure the length of the leaf she had collected for Science. All she could find was a broken ruler. She lined up the ruler and the leaf as shown below.

    a) Can you say how long the leaf is using the broken ruler?
    b) Explain how you worked it out.

You can then access and download some free worksheets from with lengths along side a ruler which doesn’t start at zero.





2. Make a metre ruler: Get some sheets of paper and tape them together. Then ask students to make a metre ruler. This is an interesting task as some students will mark 10 line intervals in between each number, when there should be 9, with the tenth being the next cm.

3. Play Tiddly Winks: To play this game you need a piece of chalk to mark a line on the ground, measuring tapes or rulers and 2 round counters. Jayne, a colleague of mine created the documents below.

Tiddly winks-wyxv37

Graphing Tiddlywinks-22tyopj

4. What can you find 1km from your school? Using Google Maps, students locate places which are 1km from their school. They can screen capture images and place into a word document. You can always change the distance to suit the location of your school.

Remember, when students are playing games or you are teaching length use the following terms: end, gap, overlap, distance, measure, estimate and units (mm, cm, m, km).

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