Show students several miniature objects, such as a toy car, an action figure, or a piece of dollhouse furniture. Ask students how they would determine the scale of these objects. (Find out how large the real object is, measure the miniature object, and then determine the ratio of the replica to the real thing.) For example, ask students what is meant when someone says that the scale of a miniature is 1:10. (1 cm in the model is equal to 10 cm in the real object, or 1 metre in the model is equal to 10 metres in the real object.) Ask them to discuss why this type of scale is a ratio. (It is a comparison of two quantities—the actual size of an object and its proportional representation.)

Activity: You will need MAB blocks

In pairs give each group an assortment of MAB blocks, including 1-, 10-, and 100s blocks. Tell them to create two larger cubes—one in a scale of 1:12 (dollhouse scale) and one in a scale of 1:24 (miniature railroad scale).

Point out to students that the models they’ve created differ from dollhouse or railroad scale because they are dealing with centimeters rather than inches.

Students now to design and build a block building using scale. Students must write the ratio into their maths book.