You need to have JavaScript enabled to view this video clip.


A description of the measures used for weight, length and volume in the past, such as cubits, spans, feet, grains of barley, stones and pints. The metric system was introduced to standardise weights and measures.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
15 June 2007

Classroom Ideas

After viewing the clip, challenge pupils to invent their own original units to measure length. The children could make cardboard rulers for measuring in their new units. Ask: "Why do you think personal measures like these eventually became standardised?" Allow pupils time to discuss the benefits of a standardised system of weights and measures. Class members could go on to try estimating and measuring using some historical units of weight, length and volume. They might enjoy using spans, paces, feet, yards, grains of barley, stones and pints. They could also try converting large metric measures into their equivalents in cubits, or other units such as chains or furlongs. The children could go on to draw up conversion tables or ready reckoners, giving historical equivalent measures to today's familiar metric units.

This clip also features in: