Once, my 8 year-old student said his classroom is 8 cm. I showed him how long is 8 cm with a ruler. But he still insisted that his classroom is 8 cm instead of 8 m.

For Lower Primary students at Singapore, they learn metres (m) and centimetres (cm). As they have learnt the four Mathematics operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), they need to apply the four operations into length problems.

The most important concept that they need to know is — 100 cm = 1 m. At home, parents can easily show the children how long is one metre. With the help of a ruler, parents can also show how long is one centimetre.

After they understand that centimetre is much shorter than metre, parents can show them the length of different objects: how long is a pencil? How tall am I? Etc.

For real life application, parents can use the distance to different places, such as school, library, market and playground. A simple example as below figure:

Distance

(a) The distance between my house and the playground is 110 m.

(b) The distance between my house and the park is 100 m.

(c) The distance between my house and the school is (100 + 80) m = 180 m

(d) The playground is nearer to my house than the school. The playground is (180 – 110) m = 70 m nearer to my house than the school.

Length and distance are everywhere in our daily lives. Instead of doing boring assessment books, why not we learn from real life application? Enjoy your learning experience!

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