Lesson 9

Creating Scale Drawings

Let’s create our own scale drawings.

9.1: Number Talk: Which is Greater?

Without calculating, decide which quotient is larger.

\(11 \div 23\) or \(7 \div 13\)

\(0.63 \div 2\) or \(0.55 \div 3\)

\(15 \div \frac{1}{3}\) or \(15 \div \frac{1}{4}\)

9.2: Bedroom Floor Plan

Here is a rough sketch of Noah’s bedroom (not a scale drawing).

Rough sketch of Noah's bedroom. 

Noah wants to create a floor plan that is a scale drawing.

  1. The actual length of Wall C is 4 m. To represent Wall C, Noah draws a segment 16 cm long. What scale is he using? Explain or show your reasoning.
  2. Find another way to express the scale.
  3. Discuss your thinking with your partner. How do your scales compare?
  4. The actual lengths of Wall A, Wall B, and Wall D are 2.5 m, 2.75 m, and 3.75 m. Determine how long these walls will be on Noah’s scale floor plan.
  5. Use the Point tool
    Circle labeled A.
    and the Segment tool
    A picture of a line segment. Endpoints are blue. Segment is black.
    to draw the walls of Noah's scale floor plan in the applet.

If Noah wanted to draw another floor plan on which Wall C was 20 cm, would 1 cm to 5 m be the right scale to use? Explain your reasoning.

9.3: Two Maps of Utah

A rectangle around Utah is about 270 miles wide and about 350 miles tall. The upper right corner that is missing is about 110 miles wide and about 70 miles tall.

  1. Make a scale drawing of Utah where 1 centimeter represents 50 miles.

    Make a scale drawing of Utah where 1 centimeter represents 75 miles.

  2. How do the two drawings compare? How does the choice of scale influence the drawing?


If we want to create a scale drawing of a room's floor plan that has the scale “1 inch to 4 feet,” we can divide the actual lengths in the room (in feet) by 4 to find the corresponding lengths (in inches) for our drawing.

A scale drawing of a room's floor plan. A scale is shown indicating 1 inch equals 4 feet.

Suppose the longest wall is 15 feet long. We should draw a line 3.75 inches long to represent this wall, because \(15 \div 4 = 3.75\).

There is more than one way to express this scale. These three scales are all equivalent, since they represent the same relationship between lengths on a drawing and actual lengths:

  • 1 inch to 4 feet
  • \(\frac12\) inch to 2 feet
  • \(\frac14\) inch to 1 foot

Any of these scales can be used to find actual lengths and scaled lengths (lengths on a drawing). For instance, we can tell that, at this scale, an 8-foot long wall should be 2 inches long on the drawing because \(\frac14 \boldcdot 8 = 2\).

The size of a scale drawing is influenced by the choice of scale. For example, here is another scale drawing of the same room using the scale 1 inch to 8 feet.

A scale drawing of a room's floor plan. A scale is shown indicating 1 inch equals 8 feet.

Notice this drawing is smaller than the previous one. Since one inch on this drawing represents twice as much actual distance, each side length only needs to be half as long as it was in the first scale drawing.

Video Summary

Glossary Entries

  • scale

    A scale tells how the measurements in a scale drawing represent the actual measurements of the object.

    For example, the scale on this floor plan tells us that 1 inch on the drawing represents 8 feet in the actual room. This means that 2 inches would represent 16 feet, and \(\frac12\) inch would represent 4 feet.

    a floor plan with a scale of 1 inch equals 8 feet
  • scale drawing

    A scale drawing represents an actual place or object. All the measurements in the drawing correspond to the measurements of the actual object by the same scale.

    a to-scale map of part of Oklahoma