Length Topic Guide for Teachers
Length is the measurement of the distance from one point to another. It is a measure that we use every day, to work out things like how far we have to walk to school, or if a curtain is the right size for a window.

Length is measured in units. We can use non-standard units, like footsteps or handspans, but when we really need to be accurate, it is better to use standard units that everyone understands and agrees on. These might be metric units (like centimetres) or imperial units (like miles).

Teach your children about the length using our handy topic guide!

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Teaching Ideas | Resources | Facts | Videos | Books | Links

Teaching Ideas



  • Our Length Pack contains all you need to teach length, including a topic guide and plenty of activity resources.

The Length Pack

Length Facts

  • An inch is an imperial unit of measure, equivalent to 2.54cm. In the 14th century, it was defined as the length of 3 grains of barley put end to end.
  • The metric system (using millimetres, centimetres, metres and kilometres to measure length) was first developed in France during the 18th century.
  • Almost every country in the world uses the metric system today.
  • The earliest measures of length were based on the human body. A cubit, a measure which was used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, is the length from elbow to fingertips.
  • Some countries, including the UK, use miles to measure distance on maps and roads. A mile is equal to 1.6 kilometres.


Measuring With a Ruler

This short video shows children how to measure accurately with a ruler.

Running time: 2:44

How to Convert Measurements

A clear explanation showing how to convert between metric units, for older children.

Running time: 12:22

If the Shoe Fits

Younger children will enjoy this story about two mice working out if the shoe they find will fit into their den.

Running time: 6:37


Jim and the Beanstalk
What happens when Jim has to measure up the giant?
Millions to Measure
Explore the world of measure with Marvelosissimo the magician.
Super Sand Castle Saturday
A charming book for exploring non standard and imperial measures.
Wonderwise: Is A Blue Whale The Biggest Thing There is?
A great book to stimulate discussion about very large measurements.
How to Measure Everything
A super lift-the-flap book for introducing measure.

Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!

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