# Creating a Ruler with 1 Inch, ½ Inch, and ¼ Inch Intervals

A ruler is a handy measuring device for getting length measurements either in the metric system or customary system. I am pretty sure that if you ask your students the contents of their pencil case or their school kit, a ruler is a necessity together with the pens, pencils, erasers, and scissors.

You’d think that teaching concepts of length, measurement, and even fractions begins with actually having a ruler, but you can take teaching and learning one step further by having students create their own ruler out of paper!

This activity is also great because it makes use of past lessons tackled in previous units. In addition, this activity could be an exciting way for your students to discover that they have the ability to create tools relatively easily that they can then use to help them solve problems. Plus, this can boost their logic and reasoning because they’ll be able to see and demonstrate how the tool helps them achieve their outcome.

While this activity is based on creating a ruler in inches, it’s easy to adapt to the metric system. But it’s important to distinguish that these units have different sizes. I.e. one inch is bigger than one centimeter, even though the unit number is the same. So, continue reading to learn how to integrate this activity into a classroom lesson with the step-by-step processes. Let’s get started!

## Ruler Materials

The materials you’ll need are simple and readily available:

• Scissors
• Different colored pens, pencils, or markers (black, blue, and red are handy but you can use any that you like)
• Printed lined paper – we’ve provided a template that you can download here
• Extra strips of paper or cardboard with a length of 6 inches (a yellow color is best)
• An actual ruler with inches 🙂

If you want to make this a more creative activity, ask your students to bring their coloring materials to class and they can decorate their template for a bit more fun and interest.

## Making the Ruler

The very first thing you will need to do is prepare the templates for your students. Here’s the download again if you need it. Make sure to print it on letter-sized (which is 8.5 inches by11 inches) plain paper. When working with young learners, it’s helpful to make a couple of extra copies in case of mistakes.

Another preliminary step is providing the strip of yellow card or paper as listed in the materials section above. You can either use colored card, or you can print the template in color as we’ve provided one there too. It’s preferable to use sturdier card, however.

Now that the preparation is complete, you can distribute the templates and yellow strips to your students.  This is where the lesson on creating number lines comes in. Viewing the page so the lines are sitting vertically, instruct your students to use a pen or marker to create a number line on the bottom horizontal line. Ask them to plot points every 4 spaces. Start from the first line as 0 and end at the last line with 6. These points will be the one-inch signifiers.

Now that you have a number line from 0 to 6, you can start calibrating the yellow strip of paper. Tell your students to diagonally place the strip of paper with one end directly on the point of 0 and the other end on the line of 6. Then, once the paper is placed that way, the next step is to label the paper with tick marks with correspondence values and spaces.

Now, your students have a 6-inch ruler to the nearest ones place. The next step is to place one-half between each whole number. Using the red pen or marker, tell your students to plot points every 2 spaces after each inch. Then, label each point with one-half.

Then, repeat the placement of tick marks following the one-halves placements. The next step is to label the paper with tick marks to correspond with the values and spaces of one-half.

Now, your students have a 6-inch ruler to the nearest half-inch. The next step is to place one-fourth measurements between each half. Using the blue pen or marker, tell your students to plot points where points have not yet been placed. Then, label each point with a quarter of a whole.

Then, like the process before, repeat the placement of tick marks following the one-fourths placements. The next step is to label the paper with tick marks in correspondence with the values and spaces of one-fourth.

Finally, your students have a 6-inch ruler to the nearest quarter inch. Your students have now created a ruler with measurements of 1 inch, ½ inch, and ¼ inch. You’ll now be able to demonstrate how at each stage of the ruler development, patterns were repeated and accuracy become higher for measuring.

## Working with a 1-inch interval ruler

This is a super fun activity where students now get to explore the world around them with a tool they’ve just created for measuring! You can either gather items from around the classroom to be measured, or give students free reign to measure anything from their hand, to pencils, or their shoes. Ensure, all the while, that your students are reading the measurements accurately (correctly) and that they’re collecting accurate data by writing it down properly.

## Get A FREE Lesson on Creating a Ruler with 1 Inch, ½ Inch, and ¼ Inch Intervals!

These are all PDF Files. They will open and print easily. The Student Edition Files are labeled SE and the Teacher Editions Files are labeled TE. Click the links below to download the different resources.

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## Before You Leave…

We hope these tips and activities will give you a good idea of how to help your students get the hang of measuring one-inch, half-inch, and quarter-inch intervals. If you’re looking for more math materials for children of all ages, be sure to sign up for our email (you’ll receive lots of free content), sign up for a membership at MathTeacherCoach, and/or take a look at our blog where you’ll find lots of amazing resources that will help you organize successful yet fun classes all kids will enjoy.

#### Image Source

Ruler photo

Cutting card illustration