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Ten Stick

Mini Minds

Ten Stick

Tim Graham


On a training course in Cornwall this Summer I had the great opportunity to have a masterclass in outdoor Maths by Juliet Robertson (her Messy Maths book is out now); ideas, tips, games and activities filled the 45 minute session and left me with a long list of things to introduce into my practice.

The first thing I did when I got back home was to take one of my hazel walking sticks (yes I have several) , saw the top off to make it a metre long and then cut notches every ten centimetres. This transformed a once ordinary pole into THE TEN STICK!!

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What does it do you ask?

It measures the length of flowers, grasses, trees and other sticks when we need things to be a certain length. It tells us the depth of a puddle so we know if it will come over our wellies. When we put things next to the notches it tells us how many things we have collected and spaces them out so it's easier to count them. It can even tell us the circumference of a tree if we wrap some string around it first and then lay it flat. The first time the ten stick came on a walk it even worked as a (wait for it) WALKING STICK to show who the leader was of the group!

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The ten stick provides a simple way to measure amounts for young children and helps them to understand amounts in a visual and tactile way. It now accompanies me out of most forest school sessions and it always gets used. 

Not bad for a bit of hazel...

P.S The next time you're in a woods try this simple way of measuring how tall a tree is!