Everyday maths 1

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

# 1 Using metric measurements

So what do you use to measure things? If you were to measure something small, such as a grain of rice, you would probably use a ruler. To measure something bigger, like the length of a room or garden, you would probably use a tape measure.

You could try estimating the size of something before measuring it, which would help you to decide what tool you need to measure it. If you wanted to measure the walls of a room before redecorating, you’d get a more accurate measurement using a tape measure rather than a 30-centimetre ruler! After you’ve made an estimate you can check how accurate it is by measuring the object.

How long is a pen? Find a pen, make an estimate of how long you think it is and then measure it accurately using a ruler. To measure accurately, line up one end of the pen with the 0 mark on the ruler. If there is no 0 mark, use the end of the ruler. Hold the ruler straight against the pen. Which mark does the other end come to?

Hint: Be careful with the bit of ruler or tape measure that comes before the first mark! Make sure you line up whatever you’re measuring with the ‘zero’ mark.

Figure 1 Measuring a pen

You can see from this diagram that the pen is 15 cm long.

Now try the following activity. Remember to check your answers once you have completed the questions.

## Activity 1: Building a shelf for DVDs

1. You want to build a shelf to hold some DVDs. You need to make sure that it’s big enough! How tall is a DVD case?
Figure 2 Measuring a DVD case
1. You have run out of screws. Before you go to buy some more, you need to measure the last screw you have to make sure you buy some more in the same size. How long is this screw?
Figure 3 Measuring a screw
1. How far is it across the head of the screw?

Hint: Draw lines from the edge of the screw head down to the ruler to help you measure it.

Figure 4 Measuring a screw head

### Answer

1. The DVD case is 19 cm tall.
Figure 5 Measuring a pen (answer)
2. The end of the screw is halfway between 2 and 3 cm, so the screw is 2.5 cm long.
Figure 6 Measuring a screw (answer)
3. The screw head is 5 mm wide.
Figure 7 Measuring a screw head (answer)
FSM_1

### Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371