Better than maths...
Being a class full of kids hungry for competition they thought this was a great idea. We had a short discussion on how maps are made and what scale means on a map. We also talked about using a scale of 1m = 10cm just to make it easy.
Anyhow I set them to work on measuring pretty much everything in the room so that they could then use our scale and create their own classroom maps. They all went about this rather mamouth task. After working on this for about 25-30mins one of my girls came up and said "This is so much better than doing maths" I thought that was a classic comment.
It really illustrates how important it is to give children a chance to put their knowledge and skills into practice in a practical way. They crave the ability to become part of the process rather than have the process given to them. I've always tried to do this as much as possible but maybe a little bit more thinking on it would get a few more comments like this is better than reading or writing. Who knows :)
Here's one of the workshops I used (thanks to Jacqui Sharp for the inspiration on this one) for the children after we'd done a bit of work on length, width and measuring using a ruler: (I've removed some of the links as they were specific to my class you can sign up to smart kiddies here unfortunately there are no free subscriptions to rainforest maths any more but you can use it if you have a matheltics subscription.)