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Grade 2: Using Measuring Tools


Students will be able to:

  • Use rulers;
  • Place a measuring tool so that one end of the measured object is lined up with the zero; and
  • Measure to the nearest inch.

Time Required: 40 minutes



  1. Show the class a shoe (or other object of your choice). Ask class to estimate the shoe’s length.
  2. Ask the class if there is a way to know for sure how long the shoe is. When using a ruler is mentioned, model how to measure the shoe with the ruler with particular attention to starting with the zero mark on the ruler at one end of the shoe (some rulers have space between the end of the ruler and the zero mark) and measuring to the nearest inch (e.g., if the measurement is between 7 and 8 inches but is closer to 7, say it is 7 rounded to the nearest inch).  
  3. Pass out rulers and ask the class what they notice. Responses might include that there are 12 numbers on the ruler (make sure they understand that the numbers mark full inches), that there are marks in between the numbers (indicate that these lines mark fractions of an inch but won’t be used today), and that there is another scale on the other edge of the ruler (indicate that the other edge of the ruler is used for measuring in the metric system, but that side won’t be used today).
  4. Ask students to measure their own shoes with the ruler. As students work, circulate to ensure that they are starting at the zero mark and not the end of the ruler or the 1-inch mark (a common misconception). As an extension, have the class graph the responses.
  5. Distribute the “Food Rocks!” worksheet to students. Circulate while students are completing the worksheet individually or in pairs.
  6. Review answers with class.

Mini-Poster: This colorful mini-poster provides a visual representation of the concepts addressed in all three lessons, and can be used by the teacher to illustrate points during each lesson for each grade level. After the lesson, the poster provides students with a visual reminder of the key measurement concepts taught.

Family Page: Distribute the family page for a fun take-home activity that also reinforces measurements skills at home.

Extension: Challenge students to come up with their own zany food-and-animal hybrid. Encourage them to sketch and measure their creation, and to also describe it. Click here to view a description of the fun Foodimal characters featured in these materials.

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