Curriculum - Maths - Lesson plan - Brewing ideas

11th June 2010 at 01:00
Primary Conjure up one witch's hat, add a large dash of imagination and make measuring in centimetres much more interesting

What the lesson is about

This is a cross-curricular activity aimed at Year 2 pupils that uses a drama about a witch's hat to give an engaging context to measuring in centimetres.

Aims: Pupils can ...

- recognise the need to use standardised units;

- use a ruler to draw lines to the nearest centimetre;

- practise counting forwards and backwards in tens, fives or twos.

Getting started

You will need several rulers, a metre stick, a soft toy that is preferably a cat, a witch's hat, a pattern for a witch's hat on a large piece of paper, a phone and an instruction booklet on how to measure with a ruler.

Explain that you have met a friend who is a witch and she has invited you to a party. Unfortunately, you do not have a witch's hat and to make one you need to know how tall it should be.

Show the children your pattern for a hat and explain - with the help of the soft toy - that you measured it using cat lengths. Ask them to help you phone your witch friend. Tell them the phone number is 0 10 20 30 up to 100 and then down again to 0 (or count in fives or twos). Get them to count together.

Pretend to talk to the witch on the phone. Tell her how many cat lengths your hat is going to be and look put out at her response. Put the phone down and tell the children that the witch said no one uses cat lengths any more and that we have to use centimetres. Ask if anyone knows what centimetres are. Tell them that you are going to use magic to change cat lengths into centimetres.

Get the children to chant a spell: "Wing of bat and breath of cheetahs, turn cat lengths into centimetres."

Tell them you think the right number is 15. Say you are going to check with the witch - ask the children to chant the phone number again. Pretend to talk to the witch and look upset at her reaction.

Tell the children she called you a numpty for trying to use magic and that she is sending a booklet with instructions on how to use a ruler to measure in centimetres. Produce the booklet and ask the pupils to help you understand it.

Demonstrate using a ruler. Divide the children into groups and ask them to complete a worksheet for measuring lines.

Taking it further

Ask the children to help you measure the height of the hat pattern hat, using a metre stick. Decide to check with the witch and get the pupils to chant her phone number again. Pretend to talk to the witch and tell her the height of the pattern. Tell the children the witch has decided to send you a hat. Produce the hat from a box. Ask them to put their hands up if they think they will be able to help you again if you forget how to measure lines with a ruler.

Where to find it

The original lesson was uploaded by jucoop and can be found at

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now