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Muddy Faces

Make a 1 Sq m maths set

A simple activity exploring length in a hands-on way using natural resources.

Tool use & Traditional Crafts


This maths set is simple and can be used in a diverse range of ways.

We make maths sets for our shop from UK-grown hazel and this metre square set is one of our most popular sets.

It is relatively easy to make your own set with just a few tools.

Involving the children in the harvesting of the wood, measuring and cutting to size deepens their connection and encourages exploration.

If you don’t have the resources to make a wooden set, use the same principles to cut lengths of string or rope.

What you'll need

  • sticks/poles
  • tape measure
  • loppers/bow saw
  • pen/pencil

This activity has been provided by

Environmental Considerations

Consider the environmental impact of preparing, carrying out & completing this activity. Could this impact be reduced? Specific considerations for this activity could include:

  • source of wood

Health & Safety Considerations

Follow your usual operating procedures and carry out appropriate risk benefit assessments.
Some considerations particular to this activity include:

  • tool use
Tool use & Traditional Crafts

Step #1 Preparation

You will need straight sticks, slightly longer than 1m in length.

If you can only find shorter ones then adapt the activity to suit the lengths you can find.

If the sticks are thin, like young willow, then you will need secateurs or loppers to cut them.

If the sticks are thicker then larger loppers or a saw and saw bench will be required.

Use the correct cutting tool for the job; take a look at our guide to understanding Anvil and Bypass blades.

Tool use & Traditional Crafts

Step #2

Measure out and mark 1 metre lengths choosing the straightest parts of the stick.

Cut 4 x 1m lengths.

Choose the straightest stick and put it to one side.

Tool use & Traditional Crafts

Step #3

Take the other 3 pieces and measure 50cm (half way) and cut.

Choose the straightest two lengths and set aside.

Tool use & Traditional Crafts

Step #4

Take two of the 50cm lengths, measure each one halfway and cut.
This gives 4 x 25cm lengths. Set these aside.

With the last two 50cm pieces, mark at 10cm intervals and cut.
Once these are all cut you will have 10 x 10cm lengths.

If you wish to take some of these pieces and make them smaller you can, but we stop at 10cm.

Tool use & Traditional Crafts

Step #5 You now have:

  • 1 x 1m
  • 2 x 50cm
  • 4 x 25cm
  • 10 x 10cm lengths.

Take it further:

  • lay out a square metre with each side made up of different lengths, all totalling 100cm.
  • the exploration of length through play can begin with a tactile physical resource. This is a great resource to use with younger children to explore various schema such as trajectory or enclosure.
  • make up your own games exploring measurements. See how many shorter lengths make up one longer one.

Disclaimer: Muddy Faces cannot take any responsibility for accidents or damage that occurs as a result of following this activity.You are responsible for making sure the activity is conducted safely.

Key Features


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