One Foot Wonders – Bay Area Discovery Museum

One Foot Wonders

One Foot Wonders

Explore standard and nonstandard measurement by hunting for objects that are one foot long. Then, work together to create a collaborative story about the items they find.

Learning Goals

  • Be Curious
  • Build STEM Knowledge
  • Communicate Thinking

Materials Required

  • 12” ruler
  • String or yarn cut to 12”
  • Video recording device (optional)


  • Show your child a ruler and explain to them that the “foot” is commonly used to measure length in the U.S. Give a few examples of objects that are about one foot long (e.g. a book, a computer, a piece of paper).
  • Give your child one piece of string.
  • Challenge them to search for objects that are about one-foot long. Encourage your child to use their string to measure an item’s circumference or length.
  • After they have finished gathering objects, discuss them, and work together to sort objects as being shorter, longer, or exactly one foot.
  • Support your child to tell a story that incorporates the objects they find. If possible, take a video as they act out it out.

Tips for Adults

  • Have your child use their own foot as a nonstandard unit of measurement and go on an additional hunt for objects that match that length.
  • Encourage them to consider objects that are not just straight (e.g. is your waist about one foot around?) Introduce vocabulary like circumference and diameter.
  • Challenge your child to find 5 objects that are exactly one foot long, 5 objects that are shorter, and 5 objects that are longer, using their string as a measuring tool.
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