Lesson Plan Industry Sector
Manufacturing & Product Development

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Tom Lamar

Reading a tape measure

Part of Unit: Measuring

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

Students learn to read a tape measure.

I start by using pre-test handouts to assess their level of understanding. (see activity)

We then read a measuring handout. The handout includes some activities that we do later. (see activity)

After the handout we begin a lecture involving the fractions used on a measuring tape / ruler

We then begin practice using the other pages of the handout that were skipped during the reading of the handout.

After the practice activities I give the students the post test.

Lesson Time 4 class periods broken out as follows

Pre-test and review
55 Minutes
5 Minutes
50 Minutes
55 Minutes
Post Test
55 Minutes


Student Objective

Students will be able to read and use a tape measure for various functions in a shop setting

Activities in this Lesson

  • Students are given a ruler and their pre-test. They must do the work on both sides of the handout. I keep the answer key with me and grade the test as it is handed in. The students return to their seats and sit, or read quietly while I grade the tests. This allows all students to finish the test. I give the students 5 points for completeing the test. Once all students have finished the test, and I have corrected them, I return the tests to the students.  We review the test giving the correct answers.

    I create the answer key by answering the questions on one of the tests. This works better for me because as the handouts are recopied they tend to distort a little and the measuremments change, at least on the side with lines to measure. I discovered this when I had a student dispute their missed answer. They were happy that I admitted my mistake and marked theirs correct. It did not change their grade as they received all of their points for doing the assignment.

    Resources and Materials

  • Handout Other

    The students are given a handout on rulers. After students read the handout we begin our lecture.

    Resources and Materials

  • I begin this lecture by drawing a large rectangle on the white board. I split the rectangle in half with a line. I ask the students how many boxes I have created. They answer 2. I then ask how many boxes I started with? they say 1. I ask them if I still have the one big box. I lead them to the answer yes. I then say do I also have 2 smaller boxes. They say yes.  I then say I need room to write the number of boxes in middle of the box so I erase half of the line I drew to divide the box. I write the fraction1/2 under my dividing line. I ask how many big boxes I have. I get them to 1 and I point out the number 1 in the top half of the fraction. I then ask how many small boxes I have and get them to the 2 on the bottom of the fraction. I point out the number 2. I then introduce the concept of 1 box in two pieces.

    (This may seem very basic, but I truly deal with students who don't understand this concept. I also don't introduce the terms denominator, or numerator at this point. It causes smoke to come out of their ears if they are truly math impaired.)

    I then draw two more lines dividing the rectangle into 4 pieces and take the kids through the process above again. I then count the small squares using the lines. I write 1/4 under the first line, 2/4 under the second line and 3/4 under the third line. I stop and discuss that the 2/4 line also has another number under it 1/2. I explain that 1/2 and 2/4 are the same value. I use the following example:

    How many of you have more than one name. Does it confuse you. I have more than one name. My daughter calls me daddy. My wife calls me sweety, honey, baby, jerk and other names, but it is still all me. Don't let the fact that 2/4 and 1/2 are the same line confuse you. Just memorize these numbers and you will be able to read a ruler. I also discuss simplest term at this point and show that I would always call two fourths one half. I point out that on a ruler they know they are at the simples term if the top number is odd. I do not elaborate the point too long. I will readress this issue with those that need it later in this lesson.

    I then draw lines to make 8 rectangles, and number them as above and discuss them. I repeat this again for sixteenths.

    I go over the lines until it seems as if most students are comfortable with reading the lines.

    My rectangle now looks like giant ruler section. I explain that if they can read this section they can read the entire ruler, or tape.

    I now pull out all of the denominators and write them on the board away from my rectangle. I show them  2, 4, 8, 16. We talk about the fact that when reading a ruler that these are the only denominators we use. Notice I snuck in the word denominator. I explain that a denominator is the bottom number of a fraction, and that it represents the number of pieces there are, while the top number (the numerator) represents have many pieces we have. I try not to confuse them, but I explain that if we have an 8 for our denominator then we have divided the inch into 8 equal pieces. If we have 8/8 then we actualy have the whole big box. If we have 3/8 then we have a smaller part of the whole box, or a fraction of the box.

    I end this lecture by giving the students a ruler and having them look at it. We then identify the lines and what they represent. I allow the top students, based upon their pre-test, to begin the next activity while I discuss ruler components with the rest of the class. The components discussed are:

    1. Identifying the fractions represented by each line and how the lines are longer and shorter representing a certain denominator based upon the length of the actual line on the ruler.

    2. We discuss (again) how if they learn one section of the ruler they now know all of the sections because they are  repeating. I then have them count the sixteenths across my ruler on the white board pointing out the simplest terms.  We use repetition going over and over the lines until they are tired of it and wanting to go on. I am looking for their frustration so I have a hook. I now let them go on, but they have to show me understanding, or we will be back to counting and reviewing.  I now give them the pretest handout again and have them redo it. We check for understanding as they finish, and they are then sent to the the shop with a tape measure, if they show proficiency on the handout. If not we begin counting sixteenths again. I then allow these students to write out their pre-test answers in sixteenths even if it is not in simplest terms. We then work together on simplifying.  We now move on.

  • I give all students a tape measure. I have a series of objects, usually between 20 and 25, numbered and layed out in the shop. The students take a piece of paper and a pen or pencil with them and measure each object writing down their finding. They have to record the length and width for all objects. You can also have them measure widths if you need the time because you are busy helping slower students. I have an answer sheet I create based upon the objects being used. I check each student's sheet as they finish. The more advanced students (who are generally sent out to this activity early because of their pre-test score)  are sent to help those having trouble.


Assessment Types:
Teacher-Made Test,

Students are given a two part final. It can be done in any order.  I lay out 5 objects on 5 different tables in the shop. I create an answer key for each table.  Each table has the identical material of the other tables just in a different order. Students write down their table number on their answer sheet and I have five students at a time in the shop. The other students sit in the class practicing their measuring until it is their turn to test. When the testing students finish they are move outside of the shop, but not into the classroom. When all students have moved through the shop we return to the classroom. I then give them another measuring handout similar to their pretest. It has 15 items on it. They are given a ruler and have to measure the lines. I grade on the point system. This test is worth 25 points.

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