Measuring Length with Fractions

Students in 3rd grade are expected to measure length to the nearest whole inch, half inch and quarter inch.

In order for students to be successful in measuring length and representing that length as fractions, consider using paper rulers to explore and compare the different fractional unit lengths using the steps below.

1. Give each student 3 different paper rulers.

paper rulers

2. Have the students highlight the whole units on one ruler, half units on another ruler, and the quarter units on the last ruler.

paper rulers marked

3. Give various objects for students to measure to the nearest whole inch, nearest half inch, and nearest quarter inch and record in a chart.

paper rulers inch

paper rulers half inch

paper rulers quarter inch

4. From there, have students compare and contrast which units are the most precise length and how the measurements compare when you’re focusing on a specific fraction of an inch.

5. Spend time discussing how the length of the object does not change if you start at a different location on the ruler.

For example: In the picture below the post-it is placed at 0 and ends at the location of 4 inches, so it measures 4 inches long.

post it measure

When the location moved to begin at 4 inches, the actual length of the post-it did not change, it is still 4 inches long, though the location now ends at 8 inches.

post it measure 2

To print paper rulers visit

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