At Sparx, we’ve been busy designing some new content to increase our coverage of measures.
Alongside our topics covering ‘Converting units of length, mass and capacity’ and ‘Converting units of area and volume’, you can now make use of new online content for ‘Using appropriate units’ and ‘Estimating and measuring’.
We thought we’d share some of the thinking behind the new content and show you a few of our favourite questions. Please do get in touch with any feedback – we’d love to know how you and your students get on!
Measures is a topic that students see throughout their time in primary school and it’s one of those vital areas that keeps cropping up across the KS3 and GCSE curriculums. Beyond the maths classroom, a solid foundation in units of length, mass and capacity is required for students studying science or design technology. And beyond their school careers, students will frequently find themselves using units and measurements in their everyday lives and possibly their careers.
With all this in mind, we wanted to design some content to enable students to develop a strong grounding of measures.
For using appropriate units, we know that it is essential for students to be able to identify which metric units are commonly used for each of length, mass and capacity.
We have designed questions that test students’ knowledge on identifying both the type of measurement being made and choosing the unit that would be most appropriate for the size of the measurement.
Having a good grounding in how the sizes of common units compare to everyday items makes it easier to sense-check measurements and conversions that need to be performed elsewhere.
For students working at a higher attainment level, we also have some content on choosing appropriate common imperial units as an example of an alternative system of measures.
Another key topic for developing a good understanding of relative sizes of measurements and how these relate to everyday objects is estimating measurements. Not only is estimation useful for checking if answers to calculations are sensible, but it is a skill used in everyday life when there’s no way to accurately measure.
For measuring, the main focus is reading scales, be that on a ruler, on a measuring jug or on a set of scales. This topic provides a great opportunity to consolidate students’ ability to read number lines, as well as tackle scales with steps of different sizes. In addition to basic reading scales questions, we also developed a range of problem-solving questions to strengthen and deepen students’ understanding, a few examples of which are below.
For students requiring some extra stretch, we finish with some more involved problem-solving questions. Here’s one example from capacity – students will need to take care to keep track of their working for this one!
The topics “Estimating and measuring” and “Using appropriate units” are now available for KS3, GCSE and IGCSE. Ahead of the next academic year, we will be looking at our measures offering as a whole, and further breaking down some of the topics – for example, splitting out length, mass and capacity – to provide you with more flexibility around how and when to cover this content in Sparx Maths.
James Pickering & Dawn Stark (Content Designers)