Compare length and height (taller and shorter)

Home learning focus

Learn how to compare lengths and heights by using particular words to define the differences.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos
  • one slideshow
  • two activities


We use certain words to compare the lengths and height of objects, such as:

  • long, longer and longest
  • short, shorter and shortest
  • tall, taller and tallest

For more help and advice with using words to compare length and height watch this Teacher Talk video. There are many more Teacher Talks covering different Maths topics on BBC iPlayer.

Top tip

When comparing lengths or heights, make sure one end of each object is lined up. You can then compare the other end to see which is longer.

Watch the video below from Foundation Stage to find out more.


Take a look at the giraffes and snakes in the slideshow below.

The giraffes' hooves are lined up on the ground so that you can see which giraffe is tall, taller and tallest.

All of the snakes have been lined up with the end of their tails starting on the right of the slide to show which snake is long, longer and longest.

Use the words taller and shorter when comparing the giraffes and snakes.

three giraffes lined up from left to right with the words tall, taller and tallest next to them, respectively.

Tall, taller and tallest

Can you see which giraffe is tall, taller and tallest?

1 of 2


Activity 1

Length or height?

Lengths are usually measured sideways, like the snakes above. Heights are measured upwards, like the giraffes standing on the ground.

Can you find pairs of objects around your home to compare and see which is the shorter of the two and which is the longer?

Compare your height with someone in your family. Who is the taller and who is the shorter?

Activity 2

Now have a go at this worksheet by HeadStart Primary. The answers are in the same printable document.

Compare, describe and solve problems for lengths and heights


  1. Tick by the pencil
  2. Tick by the lamp post
  • a) Shorter
  • b) Taller, higher or longer
  1. 3

There's more to learn

Have a look at these other resources around the BBC and the web.

More lessons for Year 1 and P2
KS1 Maths
BBC Bitesize Daily
Primary games
5 - 7 Maths
Game - Karate Cats Maths