### Maths: The Concept of Length

Children usually are introduced to the world of maths measurement through learning about length.

Length can be a property of an object or shape e.g. the length of a table or sides of a squares; it can be the height of a person; or the
distance between two points or objects.

In most everyday situations, what is being measured is a line that has to be imagined. Eg when measuring the height of a person, we are measuring an imaginary perpendicular line that joins a point on the ground to the top of the person’s head.

Length is an important foundational concept to grasp as it is required to understand concepts of area and volume.

### Learning about Length with Superheroes and Villains

I once heard the argument that if learning was too much fun, it could detract from the lesson; all the learner would take away from the experience would be that it was fun; they may not make any significant gains in their knowledge or understanding.

I understand the point being made, but I would argue that for a learner to learn, they must also be engaged in the learning experience.
Learning must be fun to some extent. It needs to be attractive and engaging so as to motivate the learner to take risks; to experiment with new ways of doing, thinking and relating to the world around them.

This maths activity is a simple and fun introduction to the concept of length.

Materials:

Enough superheroes and villain toys to make a few lines. You can easily change this to any objects of interest to your child. Eg. wooden blocks, toy cars, trains, dolls, play dough, etc.

How we played and learned:

Using my sons’ interest in superheroes and their associated villains, we made lines of superheroes and villains.

We formed the lines next to each other and compared their lengths.

We discussed whether the lines were short or long.

We used length vocabulary, e.g. long, short, the same as, longer, shorter.

N & M: 4 years, 1 month
July 2012

Check out our Maths for Under Fives for more fun and engaging maths learning activities.