Everyday maths for Health and Social Care and Education Support 1
Everyday maths for Health and Social Care and Education Support 1

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Everyday maths for Health and Social Care and Education Support 1

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.

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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: Taking measurements from a new born baby

  1. Measure the weight of the new born baby in the image below (remember to include units in your answer).
    Described image
    Figure 2 Measuring the weight of a baby
  1. Next, measure the height of the new born using the scale below
    Described image
    Figure 3 Measuring a baby's height
  1. The baby’s head circumference is measured using a tape measure.
    Described image
    Figure 4 Measuring a baby's head


  1. The baby weighs 4 kg.
    Described image
    Figure 5 Measuring a baby's weight (answer)
  2. The baby’s toes are halfway between 38cm and 39cm so the baby’s height is 38.5cm
    Described image
    Figure 6 Measuring a baby's height (answer)
  3. The baby’s head circumference is 32cm.
    Described image
    Figure 7 Measuring a baby's head (answer)

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