Short Blocks

Maths Year 6 Summer Maths Around Us

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

Measuring ourselves and around us (suggested as 5 days)

Planning and Activities

Day 1 Teaching
Explain that the cubit was an early unit of measurement used in Egypt around 5000 years ago. This is the distance from the elbow to the fingertip. Can you see any problems they might have had with this unit of measurement? Agree that it was not a ‘standard’ unit. Describe digit, span, palm, hand, foot, yard and arm span.
Group Activities
-- Find body measurements and find relationships between them.
-- Draw a scatter graph of arm spans and heights. Find the mean measurements of digits, palms, spans and cubits in the group.

Day 2 Teaching
Explain that Fermi estimates involves making fast, rough estimates using quantities which are difficult or impossible to measure directly. How many hairs do you think are on your head? What might be a sensible way to find out? Agree that it would take a long time to count them all, but an estimate can be made by finding how many are in a smaller area, and then multiplying by the number of areas.
Group Activities
-- Make a range of ‘Fermi’ estimates – approximate calculations of large numbers - such as the numbers of hairs on your head.

Day 3 Teaching
How many blades of grass do you think might be in the school field? Could we split up and count them all between us? Explain how ecologists make a quadrat (sampling frame), count what is inside, move it to different places and find an average. How many insects do you think might be on our field?
Group Activities
-- Make a Fermi estimate of the number of blades of grass on the school field and numbers of insects/daisies visible on it. Decide what size quadrats to use and calculate the area of the field.

Day 4 Teaching
Show children how to take their pulse. Children run for 30 seconds then retake their pulse. Repeat after running for 1 minute, 2 minutes, and then finally for 3 minutes. Show children how to draw a line graph of the results.
Group Activities
-- Construct and interpret line graphs to investigate the effect of different forms of exercise on heart rate.

Day 5 Teaching
The astrolabe was possibly invented in Greece either by Hipparchus, a 2nd century BCE astronomer, or Apollonius of Perga, a 3rd century BCE mathematician. We are going to make an astrolabe to measure the heights of trees and buildings. Show children one you prepared earlier. Show children how it works.
Group Activities
-- Make an astrolabe and use it to work out the height of the school building, trees or other tall structures.

You Will Need

  • Tape measure, ruler and graph paper
  • Flipchart and pens
  • ‘Relationships between body measurements’ (see resources)
  • ‘Making estimates of large numbers’ (see resources)
  • Calculators, metre sticks and trundle wheels
  • Card strips and sticky tape to make quadrats (sampling squares)
  • Clipboards, stopwatch and whistle
  • ‘Making an astrolabe’ (see resources)
  • ‘Astrolabe images’ (see resources)
  • Protractor, string, card and tape
  • Modelling clay and 30m measuring tape
  • cm² paper

Mental/Oral Maths Starters

Suggested for Day 1
Pairs with a total of 1 metre (simmering skills)

Day 2
Order numbers to 1 million (pre-requisite skills)

Day 3
Thousands and millions (pre-requisite skills)

Day 4
Estimate 1 minute (pre-requisite skills)

Day 5
Estimate angles (pre-requisite skills)

Mastery: Reasoning and Problem-Solving

This unit has no separate problem-solving activities or investigations.

Extra Support

This unit has no separate Extra Support activities.