Research-based guidance and classroom activities for teachers of mathematics

Connecting measurement and decimals

We have identified six themes within the key idea of connecting measurement and decimals: measurement scales, compound measures, geometric measures, measurement and proof, angle measures and estimating measures

Each theme page has links to relevant online activities and resources. A full list of all activities for connecting measurement and decimals is on the right hand side of this page.

What do we mean by measures?

Measures are numbers that are connected to a quantity, the connection being a ratio comparison (and not simply a count of a number of ‘things’). Even though measurement is intimately tied to diverse mathematical concepts from number through to geometry, algebra and statistics, it can be neglected in teaching. This can store up problems for students as they move on to more advanced mathematical topics, including graphs of functions, loci and vectors.

Connections between measurement and decimals

While measurement is often linked with geometry, there are good arguments for better connecting it with  decimals. In terms of teaching, neither measurement nor decimals are best served by being taught as a set of simple skills; rather, each is a complex combination of concepts and skills that develops over a number of years.

The evidence indicates that the principles of measurement and of decimals are not straightforward for many learners and may require more attention in school than is sometimes given.