Measurement: Inches

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11817

What are all those lines on your ruler? Most likely, there is at least one set that measures "inches." There are different-length rulers that measure inches, so learn how to use them around your home!


Measurement and Data

learning style
Kinesthetic, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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When you hear or read how long something is, you probably hear the word, "inches," as in, "This inchworm is one inch long."

  • How do we measure inches?

The two tools that you can use to measure inches are a ruler and a tape measurer.

Both rulers and tape measurers have inches on them to help you measure. During this lesson, you will learn how to measure with a ruler and a tape measurer.

If you missed the first lesson in our Measurement series, you will find it in the Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar.

Take out your ruler and your tape measurer now. Look at the side of the ruler that says, "IN" or "Inches."

This lesson is going to focus on using inches (IN) to measure objects. Take a look at the inch side of your ruler.

  • What number does it start with, and what number does it end with?


The average ruler starts with zero (0) inches and ends with twelve (12) inches.

You can use your ruler to measure objects that are smaller than twelve inches. You can use your tape measurer to measure objects that are larger than twelve inches.

An inch is a customary measuring unit that is bigger than a centimeter.

First, you will start by using your ruler. Find one object in your learning space that is smaller than twelve inches long.

Place your object so the beginning of the object lines up with the zero on the inch side of your ruler. Use the example below to help you.

  • Do you see how the pencil tip is lined up at the zero?

If you look at where the pencil ends (the eraser), you can see that it ends on seven (7). The pencil is seven inches long. Another way to write seven inches is to write 7 IN.

measuring pencil

  • How many inches long was your object?

Next, find a small chair in your learning space and use your tape measurer to measure the chair.

  1. Start with the zero at the bottom of the chair.
  1. Ask your parent or teacher to hold the bottom of the tape measurer for you.
  1. Pull the tape measurer until you reach just above the chair.
  1. Look at the inches on your tape measurer and find the whole number that is closest to the top of the chair. If your object does not land on a whole number, round to the nearest whole number.
  • How many inches is your chair?

tape measure

Move on to the Got It? section to watch a measurement video and play a measurement game.

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