Make a 1 Sq m maths set

September 23, 2017

A simple activity that allows length to be explored in a physical hands-on way using natural resources.

Author: Muddy Faces

Age Range: all ages

Duration: 1-2 hours

Location: anywhere

Time Of Day: any time

Season: any

Tags: curriculum, maths, measure, numeracy, saw, stick, tools, wood

Category: curriculum outdoors 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.


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.

Step 1

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.

mesuring a wooden maths pole

Step 2

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

Choose the straightest two lengths and set aside.

boy using wooden maths poles

Step 3

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.

mesuring wooden maths poles

You now have
1 x 1m
2 x 50cm
4 x 25cm
10 x 10cm lengths

boy using wooden maths poles

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.

chlid using wooden maths poles

more activities tagged MATHS, MEASURE, NUMERACY