Measurement misconceptions

When you are learning something new, you sometimes have a preconceived view of what it is or what is occurring because of your own understanding of it. This is very common when a student is learning to measure. Some measurement misconceptions that we learnt about in the lecture this week were when students are measuring the length of an object and they align the 1 on the ruler instead of the 0. And also the belief that perimeter and area are fixed.

When reflecting on ways I could help students to overcome these ‘measurement misconceptions’ I found an article that was quite useful. Drake (2014) suggests that rulers are “too variable” for classroom use when learning about measurement. And more discussion should be made around the choice of tool and unit that is being measured. What I also found interesting was that Drake (2012) discusses that numerous ways of measuring items in a classroom, should first be introduced so that when, for instance, students find they need half a counter and not a whole one to finish measuring the length of the book, a teacher can begin to scaffold units on a ruler.


Drake, M. (2014). Learning to measure length: the problem with the school ruler. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom 19.3 (Fall 2014): p27