Math in Our World: Fairy House

We built a fairy house in a tree stump. The house is for a fairy who is only 3 inches tall.

This fairy loves to measure things. One day, the fairy noticed she had never measured her own house! She was ready to begin, but she couldn’t find any of her measuring tools! Oh, no! Then she remembered that even when you cannot measure exactly, you can estimate. If she knows her height is 3 inches, what can she estimate and measure?

A tree stump has a small red door tucked into a crevice. It looks like the door opens into the stump. The fairy is next to the door. There's a big hole in the stump, but there's a bridge across it. The bridge is made from short sticks and red string. There's also a small chair made from the same kind of sticks.
  1. What do you notice? What do you wonder?
  2. Use pictures, models, or numbers to show what you could estimate and measure.
  3. What math questions can you ask about this situation? Answer all the questions you can!

Try drawing a picture of the fairy, the stump, the door, and the bridge to get started. Make sure to record the lengths you know in your drawing.

Think about:

  • How long do you think the fairy’s bridge might be? How could you estimate the length of the bridge? Make your best estimate.
  • Show your work to someone else, and explain your thinking. Did they understand?
  • Ask if they have any other questions you can answer!

Find something around your home that you can use to estimate length. It could be a toy, a household item, or something you make. Send us your own estimating length problems!