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## Appropriate Measurement Tools

Erin is redecorating her living room and has some things she wants to measure in the room. She needs to go to the hardware store to purchase some tools, one of which is the best tool to measure the objects in her living room. She needs help deciding which tool is the most useful measuring tool for her to buy.

In this concept, you will learn about different tools that are used to measure both customary and metric units of measurements.

**Tools for Measuring**

Whether you are measuring the **length** of items using the customary system of **measurement** or the metric system of measurement, you will still have to decide which measurement tool is the best one to use.

These are the most commonly used tools for measurement:

- Rulers
- Tape measures
**Yard**sticks**Meter**sticks

**Rulers** are used all the time in mathematics. Rulers are used to measure things that are small. Most rulers show both customary units of measurement like **inches** and metric units of measurement, such as the **millimeter** and the **centimeter**.

You can measure a small item in customary units or metric units.

In customary units, the barrette is about 2 inches long. In metric units, it is a little over 5 centimeters long. If an item that is being measured fits on a piece of paper, a ruler is probably the best tool to use.

Another tool to measure length is a **tape measure.** They are used to measure many of the distances that are too long for a ruler to measure easily and they are flexible, not rigid. Examples of things you would use a tape measure for could be the distance across a room or an object that is very long like a large picture frame. Tape measures most commonly show length in inches and feet, but sometimes a tape measure has both customary units and metric units marked.

A **yard stick** measures things by the yard and only shows customary units of inches and feet. Since there are three feet in a yard, a yard stick could be used for things that are longer than a piece of paper, but not too long. Some of the things that you could measure with a tape measure we could also measure with a yard stick, but it depends on if a rigid measurer like a yard stick is appropriate versus the flexible tape measure.

A **meter stick** measures one meter and shows only metric units of measurement of millimeters and centimeters. Meter sticks are used to measure objects that are larger than a piece of paper. Remember that you can use centimeters and millimeters if the object is smaller than a piece of paper. Those items are easily measured with a ruler. A meter stick is a little over 3 feet long, because a meter is approximately 3.2 feet. A meter stick closely compares to a yard stick.

For instances where a yard stick would be used for customary units, a meter stick would be used to measure metric units. For example, when measuring a table length, a yard stick would measure customary length well and a meter stick would alternately measure metric length well.

### Examples

Example 3.2.1.1

Earlier, you were given a problem about Erin and her redecorating project in her living room.

She wants to buy the most useful measuring tool she can for measuring different objects in her living room.

**Solution**

First, Erin needs to think about the different objects she may measure such as furniture, tables, etc.

Next, Erin needs to consider what units most of the objects would be measured in. For objects of these sizes, she will most likely be measuring in feet or maybe yards or meters.

Then, Erin needs to choose a tool at the hardware store that can measure feet and perhaps even yards to meters. She decides on a tape measure for its flexibility and versatility with different units of measurement.

The answer is tape measure.

Erin buys a tape measure to help get her redecorating started.

Example 3.2.1.2

Which tool would you use to measure the length of a bug that needs to be seen with a magnifying glass?

**Solution**

First, think about the bug and its size compared to units of measurement and different tools.

Next, consider what unit would be most appropriate so you can determine the best tool. If the bug is so tiny that it needs to be seen with a magnifying glass, then it is probably smaller than inches and centimeters. The smallest unit to measure would be millimeters.

Then, match a tool with the unit you are using to measure the object. The best tool that contains millimeters is the ruler.

The answer is a ruler.

Example 3.2.1.3

What tool would you use to measure a toothpick?

**Solution**

First, consider the object by looking at it or picturing it in your mind.

Next, think about what unit would be best to measure the object. A toothpick is a small object that would be too small for a **foot**. The smaller units of inches, centimeters or millimeters would be more appropriate.

Then, match a tool with the unit you would use to measure the object. Whether inches, centimeters, or millimeters are used as the unit of measurement, the ruler is the tool that will work best.

The answer is ruler.

Example 3.2.1.4

What tool would you use to measure the length of a room?

**Solution**

First, picture the object in your mind or look at the space.

Next, think about what unit of measurement makes the most sense for measuring a wall. You can rule out very small units like inches, centimeters and millimeters. We can also rule out really large units like miles and kilometers. The most appropriate units are either feet, yards or meters.

Then, determine which tool can be used to measure those units. Most tape measures contain both customary and metric units, but it's also important to think that yards and meters are quite similar so picking one or the other is appropriate.

The answer is tape measure.

Example 3.2.1.5

What tool would you use to measure the height of a floor lamp?

**Solution**

First, look at the object or picture it in your mind.

Next, think about what unit of measurement you would use to measure the object. A floor lamp is usually around the height of an average person, so we could consider feet, yards or meters for measuring.

Then, choose a tool that would measure these units. This particular object can be measured with either a rigid or flexible measuring tool. Feet and yards are measured on both a yard stick and a tape measure, and meters are measured on meter sticks and most tape measures. Any of these three tools would be appropriate to measure the lamp.

The answer is tape measure, yard stick or meter stick.

### Review

Choose the appropriate measurement tool for each item listed below.

- A grub collected from the garden
- The width of a street
- The length of a street
- The size of a small worm
- The distance from one town to the next

Choose the appropriate tool to measure each item in metrics and customary units.

- The height of a light switch
- The width of a refrigerator
- The measurements of a placemat
- The length of a pencil
- The width of a chapter book
- The length of a table cloth
- An eyelash
- The length of an ant
- The width of a piece of paper
- A television screen

### Review (Answers)

To see the Review answers, open this PDF file and look for section 2.3.

### Vocabulary

Term | Definition |
---|---|

Centimeter | A centimeter is a very small unit of metric measure. A centimeter is one hundredth of one meter. |

Customary units of length | Customary units of length include: inches, feet, yards and miles. |

Foot | A foot is a customary unit of measurement. There are 12 inches in 1 foot. |

Inches | An inch is a customary unit of measurement, measured best by a ruler. |

Kilometer | A kilometer is a common metric unit of length that is equal to 1,000 meters. |

Length | Length is a measurement of how long something is. Examples of customary units of length are inches, feet, yards and miles. |

Measurement | A measurement is the weight, height, length or size of something. |

Meter | A meter is a common metric unit of length that is slightly larger than a yard. |

Metric units of length | The metric units of length are units of measurement such as millimeter, centimeter, meter and kilometer. |

Mile | A mile is a customary unit for measuring distance. There are 5280 feet in 1 mile. |

Millimeter | A millimeter is the smallest common metric unit of length. |

Yard | A yard is a customary unit of measurement. There are 3 feet in 1 yard. |

### Additional Resources

Video:

PLIX Interactive: **Measurement Sticks**

Practice: **Tools for Measurement of Customary and Metric Lengths**

Real World Application: **Bridging the Gap**

## FAQs

### Which among the measuring tools can be used to measure length in both metric and customary units? ›

**A ruler** is used to measure the length in both metric and customary units. The rulers are marked with standard distance in centimeters in the top and inches in the bottom and the intervals in the ruler are called hash marks.

**What tool is used to measure length in the metric system? ›**

Metric Measuring Tools

There is a **meter stick** that measures 1 meter. A metric tape measure can be used to measure multiple meters. If you wanted to measure long distances, you could use a kilometer odometer.

**What are 3 examples of length and distance measuring tools? ›**

Tools that can be used to measure length include **rulers, vernier calipers, micrometer screw gauges, measuring tape and odometers**. The most precise tool used to measure length are vernier calipers.

**What can I measure customary lengths with? ›**

**Tape measures** most commonly show length in inches and feet, but sometimes a tape measure has both customary units and metric units marked. A yard stick measures things by the yard and only shows customary units of inches and feet.

**What are 4 tools which are used to measure length? ›**

**These are the most commonly used tools for measurement:**

- Rulers.
- Tape measures.
- Yard sticks.
- Meter sticks.

**What are each of the measurement tools we use in the metric system and what units are each used to measure? ›**

For example, **millimeters, centimeters, meters, and kilometers** are the metric units of the measurement of length. Grams and kilograms are the units for measuring weight. Look at the table given below to understand all the metric system units used for different purposes.

**What are the 4 metric ways to measure length? ›**

For example, the distance of a road is how long the road is. In the metric system of measurement, the most common units of distance are **millimeters, centimeters, meters, and kilometers**.

**What are the names of metric length? ›**

nanometer(nm) | 11,000,000,000 of a meter |
---|---|

meter(m) | 1 meter |

dekameter(dam) | 10 meters |

hectometer(hm) | 100 meters |

kilometer(km) | 1000 meters |

**What are five things used to measure length? ›**

**Tools used for Measurement of Length**

- Rulers. Rulers have straight edges and are stiff. ...
- Tape Measures. Tape measures are flexible straight edges with graduated markings. ...
- Meter Sticks. Meter sticks and yardsticks are the same in construction and length. ...
- Odometers.

**What are the example of measuring tools 5? ›**

The common types of measuring tools include speedometers, measuring tape, thermometers, compasses, digital angle gauges, levels, laser levels, macrometer, measuring squares, odometers, pressure gauges, protractors, rulers, angle locators, bubble inclinometers, and calipers.

### What are the 5 uses of measurement? ›

The purposes of measurement can be categorized as measurement being in the service of **quality, monitoring, safety, making something fit (design, assembly), and problem solving**. We should note that measurement sometimes serves multiple purposes.

**What is customary vs metric? ›**

The customary system: This system of measurement is primarily used in the United States, which include the inch, foot, mile, pound and cup. The metric system: This system of measurement is primarily used in science and in countries outside the United States, which include meter, kilometer, liter, gram and kilogram.

**What are the 7 different measurements for measuring lengths? ›**

Some of the commonly used units for measuring length are **centimeters, millimeters, meters, inches, feet, yards, feet**, etc.

**What are all the types of measurement for length? ›**

The basic units for length or distance measurements in the English system are the **inch, foot, yard, and mile**. Other units of length also include the rod, furlong, and chain.

**What is length to the metric system? ›**

The basic unit of length (metre) | Conversion factor to other metric units | Simple length conversion units |
---|---|---|

1 m | 1000 millimetres | 1 km = 1000 m 1 m = 100 cm 1 cm = 10 mm 1 hm = 100 m |

1 m | 10 decimetres | |

1 m | 1/10 decametres | |

1 m | 1/100 hectometres |

**What unit is used to measure length? ›**

The basic units for length or distance measurements in the English system are the **inch, foot, yard, and mile**. Other units of length also include the rod, furlong, and chain. survey foot definition. In the English system, areas are typically given in square feet or square yards.