Maths Year 1/2 Autumn Measures

Each unit has everything you need to teach a set of related skills and concepts.

Comparing and measuring lengths (suggested as 3 days)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Use decimetre strips or rods as uniform unit to measure a child’s height. Show Y2 that each rod is a standard unit (dm).
Further Teaching with Y1
Model using cubes as a uniform unit. Use cubes to measure the height of a chair. Record height of different objects in cubes.
Group Activities
Y1 -- Estimate and measure objects using cubes or rulers.
Y2 -- Measure heights/ objects using decimetre strips or rods.

Day 2 Teaching
Estimate and measure length using a uniform unit (beads). Use a 20-bead string to measure a child’s hand span. Compare and order different hand spans.
Further Teaching with Y2
Show that a decimetre is 10cm. Measure your foot using cm.
Group Activities
Y1 -- Measure lengths using a bead string.
Y2 -- Measure hand spans and shoe sizes in centimetres, using decimetre strips.

Day 3 Teaching
Show a metre stick. Use metre sticks to estimate and measure the length or width of the hall.
Further Teaching with Y2
Demonstrate how to measure objects with a ruler. Use 30cm rulers to measure in centimetres and metres. Show that a ruler is 3dm
Group Activities
Use the in-depth problem-solving investigation for this unit – Make a stick – as today’s group activity.
Or use the activity below.
Y1 -- Suggest and find objects more and less than 1m.
Use the in-depth problem-solving investigation for this unit – Fanned Fingers – as today’s group activity.
Or use the activity below.
Y2 -- Estimate then measure objects and distances in centimetres.

You Will Need

  • 1cm cubes
  • Decimetre strips (see resources)
  • Items to measure (including a straight-sided tray)
  • Rulers (30cm), 20-bead string and sticky notes
  • An outline drawing of the teacher’s foot
  • Modelling clay, string and 100-bead strings
  • A5 sheets of paper
  • ‘Shoe lengths’ sheet (see resources)
  • Metre sticks and hoops
  • ‘Measuring classroom objects’ sheet (see resources)
  • Additional activity sheets (see resources)
  • Record of children’s heights from Day 1
  • Toy cars, cardboard/plank and books for ramp

Short Mental Workouts

Day 1
Numbers before and after

Day 2
How many?

Day 3
Which unit?


Day 1
Y1: Estimate the length of snakes and measure them in cubes
Y2: Measure items or lines in decimetres.

Day 2
Y1: Estimate and measure items, in beads.
Y2: Measure classroom objects, in centimetres.

Day 3
Y1: Sort items into more or less than 1m.
Y2: Create a spiral.

Mastery: Reasoning and Problem-Solving

Y1 and Y2

  • Draw a fairly wiggly line of about 4 decimetres in length. Lay a piece of damp string along it. Straighten the string.
    Y1 How many cubes long is it?
    Y2 How many centimetres long is it?


  • Find a book which is…
    (a) 9 cubes long
    (b) more than 16 cubes long
    (c) between 10 and 12 cubes long


  • Estimate how long each of these creatures is in centimetres, nose to tip of tail.
    (a) a mouse
    (b) a worm
    (c) a gold fish in a bowl
    Use an online resource to check.

Y1 In-depth Investigation: Make a Stick
Children find a collection of items which in total measure exactly 1m in length.

Y2 In-depth Investigation: Fanned Fingers
Children work together to first estimate and then find an accurate measurement of the distance around their hand with the fingers ‘fanned out’ or splayed wide.

Extra Support

Y1: Tall Towers
Comparing two numbers up to 10 and compare heights

Y2: Teddy Long Legs
Comparing lengths using uniform non-standard measures and using comparative vocabulary (taller, longer, shorter)