Measuring Length


Measuring Length provides students with a basic knowledge of the standard method of measurement and the metric system of measurement. Students will learn that the U.S. is among one of the few countries that don’t primarily use the metric system. They will focus on inches, feet, yards, and miles in the standard method, and on millimeters, centimeters, meters, and kilometers in the metric system.

In the “Options for Lesson” section, you will find several suggested additions or alternatives for your lesson. You could use an outdoor location, for example, and number 25 objects like flowers or building parts. Then have students measure those items with longer lengths, like a yard stick. You could also discuss the metric system and standard method in the U.S. and how they affect each other and the people who use them.

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What our Measuring Length lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Measuring Length teaches students how to measure various lengths using both standard and metric units. The lesson describes why people need to know the length of certain objects or the distance between two places. Students will discover that there are many ways to measure the length of something. They will learn about the metric system and the units it uses to measure. By the end, they will know the difference between the metric and standard methods and how to use both.

Two pages of content outline the two methods for measuring length. First, the lesson describes what length means. It then defines the standard method and the metric system. It explains how the standard method uses inches, feet, yards, and miles to measure objects or distances of various lengths. Students will learn that smaller objects, like pencils or desks, require inches or feet as the unit of measurement. Larger objects, however, would use yards or miles, such as tennis courts and state distances.

The lesson then describes the metric system. Students will discover that many countries use the metric system and not the standard method that the U.S. uses. The metric system involves units that increase or decrease by factors of 10. People most often use millimeters, centimeters, meters, and kilometers, which are actually increasing or decreasing by factors of 100. The lesson provides a couple tables that summarize the units and conversion rates for the two methods.


Students will work alone and with others for the activity. First, they will read a short passage about why a foot is 12 inches. Then they will measure their own feet and two others’ feet. Next, they will measure the distance across a room. Then they will count how many steps it takes them to get across the room. They will also count the steps of the same two people.


For the practice worksheet, students will first measure seven lengths using the standard method. They will measure to the nearest quarter-inch. Next, they will use the metric system to measure the same seven lengths. This time, they will measure to the nearest whole number.


The homework assignment requires students to answer 11 questions. Several of them focus on figuring out which unit to use to measure certain things, such as the distance between two cities. Other questions focus on testing students’ ability to convert units.

Additional information


2nd Grade, 3rd Grade



State Educational Standards

LB.Math.Content.2.MD.A.1, LB.Math.Content.2.MD.A.2, LB.Math.Content.3.MD.B.4

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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I love the material. It gives me so much inspiration on how I can make my materials better and fun for my students. Thank you!