Science Club – Measuring and Maps

Measuring and Maps Week



Arrival Craft:

Make a simple sextant, we’ll have a couple of ready-made ones for toddlers to colour.

I cut paper plates in half, and drew degree measurements on, using a protractor.
The children stuck a straw along the bottom edge to use as a view finder. They stuck string in the middle with a penny sellotaped to the end, to act as a weight.
Sextants are used to measure the angle of things, this can – with a bit of maths – determine where you are if you look at the north star. There’s a nice guide to using a sextant here. They can be used in the day, but these paper ones don’t have mirrors, so please don’t sight the sun with them.
We used ours to measure the angle of elevation of the light in the hall for practice.
Line up the sextant so you can see what your chosen object through the straw. Ask a helper to read off the angle the string is passing through.



Show a range of measuring devices. What would we use to measure the height of: a person (tape measure), the length of a toy car (ruler), the length of the room (trundle wheel)?

How would we measure a wiggly line on a map? (we could use a piece of string)

Let’s measure the length of this room in children. Everyone stand in a line and hold hands, how many children long is this room?

Are ‘children’ a good unit of measurement? Why not?

Before tape measures were easily available, people used to measure things with their bodies. Your wrist to your elbow is called a cubit. If you take a step, you measure the heel of the front foot to the toe of the back foot, that’s your pace. Would it be easier to measure the length of the room in paces or cubits?


Individual Task:

I made simple worksheets for the children to fill in, you can download them here: YouAreTheMeasure

Using tape measures, children measure their own cubit, foot pace and hand span.

Bigger children compare their measurements to the standard cubit.

Biggest children work out how long the room is in their personal cubits.


Gather Together for the Conclusion:

Play “Where’s Wally?”. Sometimes it’s hard to find one part of a big picture.

We use grid references to help us find things on a map.

Guess where the treasure is (make a big map of an island, draw a grid reference on it, get all the children to guess which square hides the treasure, when everyone has guessed, reveal the answer).

Show the Beebot map and program the beebot to move around it.
You can get a Beebot here, or just skip this bit!


Break for drink and snack


Active Science:

Play North, South, East, West.
Appoint one wall to be North, one South, etc.
When you call ‘North’ the children run the that wall and the last child there is out. Keep calling directions until all the children are out.
If the children are really good at this game, add in ‘North East’ etc. Or even ‘South South West’!


Optional Extension:

Map worksheets or games, we have a few map themed board games which I took along.

Beebot challenges





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