Beginnings of Rope Learning


Maths is all about making sense of the world around us. Outdoor learning environments offer the perfect place to apply mathematical concepts taught inside the classroom.


As Eddie Woo (Australia’s Local Hero) has suggested; the best thing for students is to be willing mathematicians, not excellent mathematicians. He talks about maths “being a search for fundamental insight, a spirit of inquisitive exploration and a source of joyful surprises” All of these endeavours are supported with learning outside the classroom.


Environments that are diverse in nature and open-ended have a positive impact on the opportunities for maths skill development.



Ten ways to use ropes for learning

  1. Explore your environment to see what is longer / shorter than a 1m length of rope.
  2. What structures can your 1m length of rope fit around? A great introduction to the circumference.
  3. Use your rope to make 2D shapes on the ground. Measure the lengths and angles in these shapes.
  4. Work in small groups to create a picture with your ropes.
  5. Coil your rope into a ‘snail shape’ and fill this with objects in a repeated pattern.
  6. Take a 25-metre length of rope outdoors and draw a line at 1m intervals using a permanent marker to create a giant number line.
  7. Use your oversized number line for counting up and down.
  8. Create your own number game using a large number line.
  9. Place items in an order against the number lines – guess what attributes or measurements others have ordered their items with.
  10. Place all of your ropes in one big line. Do they go all the way to one hundred? What happens if you change the value of each interval to be 10 or 100?  What is the largest number you find?