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Measurement

Understanding measurement is essential to be able to quantify the world around us. The measuring skills your child learns at primary school will go on to help them in everyday life, from cooking, to shopping, to getting to work on time!

At the end of primary school, children sit mandatory tests in arithmetic and reasoning. Although these may seem a bit daunting, children build their maths skills gradually through the primary years. So your child will progress from comparing lengths and weights in Year 1 to calculating the area and volume of shapes in Year 6.

There are lots of simple things you can do at home to help your child learn about measurement.

What your child will learn

Follow the links below for an overview of each year, with lots of information, support, and practice activities:

Measurement in Year 1 (age 5–6)

In Year 1, children will be expected to be explore measurement in relation to length, height, weight, volume, time, and money. This includes:

  • measuring and comparing lengths, heights, weights, and capacities
  • telling the time to the hour and half hour
  • recognising and knowing the value of different coins and notes.

More information and activity ideas for Year 1 >

Measurement in Year 2 (age 6–7)

In Year 2, children will be expected to use standard units to measure length, mass (weight), capacity, and temperature, to compare intervals of time, and to solve simple problems with money. This includes:

  • comparing and ordering measures such as metres (m), centimetres (cm), kilograms (kg), grams (g), degrees Celsius (°C), litres (l), and millilitres (ml)
  • telling the time to five minutes, including quarter to and quarter past
  • choosing coins or notes to make a given amount of money and working out change.

More information and activity ideas for Year 2 >

Measurement in Year 3 (age 7–8)

In Year 3, children will be expected to be able to add and subtract measurements, tell the time to the nearest minute, and compare durations of time. This includes:

  • measuring and adding to find the perimeter of 2D shapes
  • telling the time using 12- and 24-hour clocks, including Roman numerals I–XII for 1–12
  • adding and subtracting amounts of money to give change.

More information and activity ideas for Year 3 >

Measurement in Year 4 (age 8–9)

In Year 4, children will be expected to be able convert between some units of measurement, such as kilometres to metres, and calculate measurements in relation to shapes. This includes:

  • working out the perimeter and area of rectilinear shapes
  • solving problems involving converting units of time
  • adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing measurements including money.

More information and activity ideas for Year 4 >

Measurement in Year 5 (age 9–10)

In Year 5, children will be expected to be able to convert between metric units of measurement and solve problems involving decimal measurements. This includes:

  • calculating the perimeter and area of shapes (including those made up of squares and rectangles)
  • estimating volumes of 3D shapes and capacities of containers
  • using some imperial units, such as inches, pounds and pints.

More information and activity ideas for Year 5 >

Measurement in Year 6 (age 10–11)

In Year 6, children will be expected to be able to solve problems by calculating and converting measurements with up to 3 decimal places, including between miles and kilometres. This includes:

  • working out areas of shapes including triangles and parallelograms
  • working out volumes of cubes and cuboids
  • knowing and using formulae to work out areas and volumes of some shapes.

More information and activity ideas for Year 6 >

How to help at home

You don’t need to be an expert to support your child with maths! Here are three simple but effective ways you can help your child develop their understanding of measurement.

1. Measure everything

There are lots of opportunities to practise measuring at home. Try to measure practically wherever possible. Discuss and identify standard units (like cm, m, kg, g, l, ml) on food packaging, toiletries, or clothes labels.

You could also try using non-standard measures. For example, how many paces long is the kitchen? How many paperclips wide is the book?

2. Bake together

Help your child to measure ingredients when you are cooking. Identify the capacity/volume or mass/weight of ingredients, either using scales or less formal methods such as cups. Another great idea is to look at recipes in both metric and imperial units. Older children may be able to convert between them.

For more advice, take a look at our Cooking with kids blog post.

3. Check the time

Look for analogue clocks and digital clocks when out and about. Practise reading times and converting them to 12- or 24-hour times. You could also use timetables to solve problems – for example, finding when the next bus will arrive or how long a train journey will take.

For more advice, take a look at our Learning to tell the time blog post.

Video support

What are mass, volume and area?

Homework help! Get simple definitions of mass, volume, and area and the units used to measure them.

Cooking with kids

Develop your child’s early maths skills and make maths fun by counting, measuring, and estimating while cooking and baking.

Maths glossary

Use these quick links or explore our education glossary for simple definitions and examples of mathematical terms.

  • Capacity is how much something holds. It is usually measured in litres and millilitres.
  • Volume is the amount of space a liquid or gas can take up in a container.
  • Mass is a measure of the amount of matter in an object. Mass is usually measured in grams (g) or kilograms (kg). It is often used interchangably with weight, although weight technically refers to the affect of gravity on an object instead of how much matter it contains.
  • Perimeter is the border of a shape. The perimeter of a circle is its circumference
  • Standard units of measurements are units that are agreed by everyone, like metric and imperial units.

Search our education glossary >