Line Up: Using Math To Stand In Line

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Put math of measurement into lining up — and make waiting in line fun. Choose a size characteristic that learners can physically compare, such as foot length or hair length. Then, ask for a prediction: We’ll be lining up by arm span. Do you think you’ll be near the start, middle, or end of the line? Then try it and see. For a change of pace, line up by something children need to call out: birthday, number of buttons they’re wearing, or number of teeth they’ve lost so far. Available as a web page or downloadable pdf. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Game



  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Rate
      • Systems
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Games
  • Sports and Exercise


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Mixing in Math


  • , © 2010, TERC, Inc., MA., 2010

Funding Source:

  • NSF, ESI-0406675 and DRL-0713537