My brilliant idea - String along

28th November 2008 at 00:00


Ages 14-16

A new ball of string will claim a total length on its wrapper, so why not hide the wrapper and ask pupils to estimate how much there is?

You don't want to have to unwind the whole thing and measure it bit by bit and then wind it up again - tedious and messy - so get them guessing.

Once everyone has had a go, groups of pupils can work on ways of refining their estimates. Different methods may be offered. For example, someone might want to cut off a certain length and weigh it and then weigh the whole ball.

Others might try to measure the thickness of the string and the dimensions of the ball and do some volume calculations. Some might try counting the lines of string around the edges to work out how many layers there are. Whose estimates are the best?

You can do a similar task with a roll of toilet paper or stack of paper.

Colin Foster teaches maths at King Henry VIII School in Coventry.

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