Lesson 9
From Feet to Inches
Lesson Purpose
The purpose of this lesson is for students to learn about a larger unit of customary measurement—the foot. Students measure in inches and feet, compare their measurements, and generalize about the relationship between the size of a length unit and the number of units needed to measure the length of an object.
Lesson Narrative
In an earlier lesson, students were introduced to the inch as a length unit in the customary system. They developed a benchmark for an inch and measured objects with an inch ruler.
In this lesson, students use the length of a 12inch ruler to develop an understanding of the length of 1 foot. They use a ruler as a benchmark for estimating the length of a foot. Throughout the lesson, students make decisions about which tools and which length units to use when measuring (MP5). They compare measurements for the same object in inches and feet and generalize that the more units are needed to measure the same length if you use a smaller length unit. This concept is a foundation for future work with measurement and their work with unit fractions in later grades.
Although the activities encourage students to notice that 1 foot is the same length as 12 inches, students are not expected to convert units in grade 2. Students express larger units in terms of smaller units in grade 4 and larger units in terms of smaller units in grade 5.
 Action and Expression
 MLR2
Learning Goals
Teacher Facing
 Compare measurements in feet and inches and describe the relationship between different measurements and the size of length units.
 Use rulers to measure length in feet and inches.
Student Facing
 Let’s measure longer lengths with customary units.
Required Materials
Materials to Gather
Required Preparation
Activity 1:
 Tape strips of these lengths on the floor. Label each strip with the letter and fish name. It may be helpful to make multiple sets of these lines to keep the groups small.
 Strip A, largemouth bass: 2 feet
 Strip B, spiny dogfish shark: 4 feet
 Strip C, catfish: 3 feet
 Strip D, koi: 2 feet and 6 inches
Activity 2:
 Each group of 4 needs a measuring tape (or retractable tape measure) that labels the length of each foot.
Lesson Timeline
Warmup  10 min 
Activity 1  20 min 
Activity 2  15 min 
Lesson Synthesis  10 min 
Cooldown  5 min 
Teacher Reflection Questions
In Activity 1, students measured the same length of tape in both inches and feet. What evidence did you see of students’ understanding that the different measurements for each line relate to the size of the unit used to measure?
Suggested Centers
 Capture Squares (1–3), Stage 4: Subtract within 20 (Supporting)
 Math Stories (K–2), Stage 5: Tape Diagrams (Supporting)
Print Formatted Materials
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Additional Resources
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