Math For Math Mondays – Adhesive Tape Measures

As a middle school math teacher, I have been having the students take their body measurements for the past two years.  They usually stand up against a post, use a whiteboard and sidewalk chalk to mark their height, and then measure themselves.  Every month when they measure each other, I have a LEAST one student who exclaims with much dismay, “Oh my GOSH!  I SHRUNK – BY TWO INCHES!!”  Of course they didn’t shrink, but trying to convince an “eager to grow” middle school student of this fact, especially after they were SO proud the month before of how much they had grown, is almost impossible.  And of course, they had charted their imaginary grown spurt the month before – in PEN no less.

There are several errors they make when measuring their height.  One, they don’t hold the whiteboard straight, ever.  Two, my tape measures are only 60″ long, so they have to hold their finger at 60″, measure the remaining distance, and add the two measures together.  Also, their accuracy will depend on whether or not they are standing up against a flat surface.  Many times students stand against the whiteboard and measure themselves, then let the tape measure loop around the eraser tray but don’t take off that extra couple of inches gained.

Luckily, I found these very cool Komelon flat shell measuring tapes with adhesive backs at Amazon.comThere are a couple of different brands out there, but these had the best reviews.  THEY ARE FABULOUS.  They are STEEL, so they can withstand middle school students and will resist pencil markings.  They were CRAZY sticky, so they will NOT come off.  They were 12 feet high so they went up my entire 8 foot wall!  And, they were only about $4 each.  I ordered five of them, and hung them on the walls today.  I cut off the first 4″ so that I could install them over the baseboards for greater accuracy.

Hopefully, I won’t have any (or at least not MANY) distressed, shrinking middle school students this year!  🙂


On a side note, I woke up to another amazing measurement solution on Pam’s Blog.  I had never thought of buying the vinyl ones and hanging them.  She is much craftier than I.  I love that we both picked the same week to blog about the same thing.  I’ll say it again, Twitter blogging math teachers are AMAZING!

6 thoughts on “Math For Math Mondays – Adhesive Tape Measures

  1. I took (after sheepishly asking if it was okay — for educational purposes) a pack of 50 Ikea paper meter tapes into my class. A pair of tapes is connected on the wall for height measuring purposes — one set of HS twins was so happy to finally have surpassed 5 feet. The rest are on a nail in the bulletin board to remove for any math or Physics purposes needed.

  2. Here is another interesting source of measuring I’ve seen recently ( ) — a ruler tattooed on your arm so it is always available. I also like the extendo-tape used by the zoo inspector on We Bought a Zoo.

    However, I just as often use footsteps or ceiling tiles to measure and expect my students to get a feel for estimation without formal tools.

    • Well there you go! I think I would make mine rainbow colors, or at least pink! I do estimation in other things but insist on exact measurements for height. I like them to get the fractions from the ruler and then convert them to decimals before they enter it onto the wiki pages.

  3. I use a low-heat glue gun to attach my wall decorations in my classroom – I have cement block walls. It does not take off the paint if/when you want to pull it off. Perhaps that could work to attach a vinyl tape measure to a classroom wall? I may have to try that. I’m thinking my 2nd graders would get a huge kick out of seeing their “growth spurts” throughout the year, too! 🙂 Thanks for the great idea!

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