Children in the UK get far less experience at using kilometres than most Euoropeans because we have decided to keep with the mile for most of our longer measuring. Of course this is a nonsense: to start with a system using mm, cm and metres and then switch to a completely different system ie miles does not make any sense at all! Until our road signs are changed there is little hope of any improvement in this situation.
Whilst there are 1760 yards in a mile the much simpler metric system has the easy to calculate 1000 metres in a kilometre.
At this stage children should be beginning to write half a kilometre as 0.5 km but 1/2 km is acceptable. This free maths worksheet concentrates on writing half kilometres as decimal fractions.
Free Y3 maths worksheet: Measuring in kilometres (pg 3)
By year 4 it is important that children have a good understanding of the units used to measure and what kind of unit would be sensible to estimate or measure length, mass or capacity.
They should be able to respond to questions such as;
‘About how heavy is a tennis ball?’
‘Would you expect a bungalow to be 2 metres, 6 metres or 60 metres tall?’
They should also be able to suggest things that could be measured in:
millimetres, centimetres, metres or kilometres
kilograms or grams
litres or millilitres.
This page takes a look at some common objects and what would be the most sensible estimate of them. it can be found in our Year 4 Measuring category.
Great progress is made in year 2 with measuring. Much of the work still concentrates on comparisons between different lengths, heights, weights and capacity but standard units of measurement (such as centimetres and metres) are also introduced.
Units of time are also introduced, including seconds, minutes, hours and days and the relationship between them. Reading clock faces to the quarter hour is another step forward.
I have a selection of resources on these topics, found in the Year 2 maths Worksheet category, under Measuring.
I would also especially recommend the material at urbrainy.com for these topics, as they have a great range of resources which can be viewed free of charge and up to ten sets of worksheets printed free.
Go to Year 2 measuring resources
We have an increasing number of maths worksheets covering measuring for Year 3. Reading scales where the divisions are not all labelled is an important aspect of this and we have a tricky page on reading length.
For those who think that miles should still be taught we have a couple of pages of working out distances using miles.
For those who prefer metric we include three worksheets on measuring in kilometres as well as choosing the most sensible units of measurement.
We also have a couple of estimating and finding lengths of time.
Go to our Year 3 measuring worksheets