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Inches, Feet, Yards, and Miles

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Basics on the topic Inches, Feet, Yards, and Miles

Inches, Feet, Yards and Miles – Explanation

In this learning text we are going to learn about customary measurement. Customary measurement is the system of measurement often used in the US. When we want to find out the length of something we use units of length like: inches, feet, yards or miles. In this text we are going to look at the smallest to the biggest units of length used in the US as well as the conversion from one to another.

  • An inch is a very small measure of length and is represented by the abbreviation in or quotation mark ‘’
  • A foot is a bigger measurement than an inch and is represented by the abbreviation ft or apostrophe
  • A yard is a bigger measurement than a foot and is represented by the abbreviation yd
  • A mile is a bigger measurement than a yard and is represented by the abbreviation mi

If you would like to visualize the above information, have a look at the diagram below:

25449_SEO_illu1-01.svg

Converting Inches, Feet, Yard and Miles

In the following conversion we will be looking at all measurements separately with the help of conversion tables for inches, feet, yards and miles. We will be looking at the definitions as well as historical background as well as practical uses. We will show real-life examples to each of the measurements making sure the understanding of the customary measurement is explained well.

Converting Measurements – Inches

As we mentioned at the beginning the inch is a unit of length in the United States customary system of measurement. An inch has been used since the 7th century and is commonly used in several countries worldwide. It was replaced by centimeters after the metric system was introduced and accepted in most countries.

We use inches in measuring small objects or precision engineering and manufacturing, as well as in graphic design and printing. Inches can be converted into feet and you can learn more about is with the video called Converting Inches and Feet, but you can also convert them into yard and miles. Have a look at the conversion table below for an overview.

Inches Conversion
12 inches 1 foot
36 inches 1 yard
63,360 inches 1 mile

Converting Measurements – Feet

Another unit of length which is a bigger measurement than an inch is a foot. The foot is a unit of length in the United States customary system of measurement. The foot was originally derived from the use of the human body as a basis for units of length. The definition we use today is known as the international foot, which relates to a shoe size of 14 US male and 15.5 US females.

The practical use of feet in real life is for example estimating heights and distances, building construction and architecture or we use feet in sports fields and track measurements.

Feet Conversion
3 feet 1 yard
5,280 feet 1 mile

Converting Measurements – Yards

Now we will move on to yards. A yard is a bigger measurement than a foot and is a unit of length in the United States customary system of measurement. The origin of the yard measure is uncertain as both the Romans and the Welsh used multiples of a shorter foot (2.5 feet Roman and 3 feet Welsh).

We can find the use of yards in fashion, such as textile and fabric measurements, tailoring and sewing.

Yards Conversion
1,760 yards 1 mile

Converting Measurements – Miles

Finally, let’s look at miles. A mile is the biggest unit of length in the customary measurement system. We use miles for any long distance. A mile comes from Romans who had a measurement known as a thousand paces. A pace comprised five, possibly sandal shod, Roman feet. Using a mathematical calculation, we get around 5,000 feet per mile.

The practical uses of miles we can recognise in travel and navigation, the automotive industry and mileage, as well as sports events and marathon distances.

Miles Conversion
1 mile 5,280 feet

Inches, Feet, Yards, and Miles – Examples

Let’s look at some real-life examples to have a good imagination of each of the measurements. For example, a paper clip is roughly one inch, a sub sandwich is roughly one foot, the length of an adult bike is roughly one yard and finally four laps of a standard running track are roughly one mile.

25449_SEO_illu2-01.svg

The infographic below shows some real-world examples of inches, feet, yards and miles. Now you should be able to recognise roughly each of the measurements and give specific examples if necessary. If you need more help, please watch the video explaining each individual customary measurement and complete the worksheets that are available for this topic.

Inches, Feet, Yards, and Miles – Summary

Remember: Inches, feet, yards and miles are all customary measurements or units of length in the US.

Unit of Measurement Explanation Examples
inch * An inch is a very small measure of length and is represented by the abbreviation in or by a quotation mark ‘’ A paperclip, a bottle cap, a finger or thumb
foot * A foot is a bigger measurement than an inch and is represented by the abbreviation ft or apostrophe A bread roll, a standard ruler, 2 liters soda bottle
yard * A yard is a bigger measurement than a foot and is represented by the abbreviation yd The length of a baseball bat, the width of a door, the distance from the tip of your nose to the end of your arm, the length of the guitar
mile * A mile is a bigger measurement than a yard and is represented by the abbreviation mi A very long truck, around 2 000 steps

Frequently Asked Questions about Inches, Feet, Yards and Miles

What is the relationship between inches, feet, yards, and miles?
How many inches are there in a foot?
How many feet are there in a yard?
How many inches are in a yard?
How many yards are there in a mile?
Can inches be used to measure long distances?
Which measurement unit is typically used in construction?
Are miles used internationally for measuring long distances?
What is the purpose of using standardized units of measurement?
How do you convert inches to centimeters?
Can you provide some examples of everyday objects measured in inches?
What is the significance of the mile in road signage?
Are there any countries that use yards as a primary unit of measurement?
How accurate are measurement tools like rulers and tape measures?
Can you convert miles per hour to kilometers per hour?

Transcript Inches, Feet, Yards, and Miles

What a beautiful day for Zuri to read her magazine! "Freddie, what are you doing?" "Oh, I heard you can measure things in feet!" "What? No Freddie, they meant like this!" Let's join Freddie in learning all about inches, feet, yards, and miles. Inches, feet, yards, and miles are customary measurements, or units, of length often used in the U.S. An inch is a very small measure of length and is represented by the abbreviation I N or a quotation mark. A foot is a bigger measurement than an inch and is represented by the abbreviation F T or an apostrophe. A yard is a bigger measurement than a foot and is represented by the abbreviation Y D. A mile is a bigger measurement than a yard and is represented by the abbreviation M I. We can compare measurements using a chart. Let's start by taking a closer look at inches! Twelve inches make up one foot. Thirty-six inches make up one yard. Sixty-three thousand three hundred sixty inches make up one mile. Now let's take a look at feet! Three feet make up one yard and five thousand two hundred eighty feet make up one mile. Now let's take a look at yards! One thousand seven hundred sixty yards make up one mile. And finally, let's look at miles! A mile is the biggest unit of length in the customary measurement system, so any long distance typically use miles. What are some items or objects that are roughly the size of each unit? A paperclip is roughly one inch. A footlong sub sandwich is roughly one foot. The length of an adult bike is roughly one yard. For one mile, there isn't a specific item that is one mile long, but four laps of a standard running track is equal to one mile! While Freddie finishes up learning about the customary units of length, let's review! Remember, inches, feet, yards, and miles are all customary measurements, or units of length in the U.S. An inch is a very small measure of length and is represented by the abbreviation I N or a quotation mark. A foot is a bigger measurement than an inch and is represented by the abbreviation F T or an apostrophe. A yard is a bigger measurement than a foot and is represented by the abbreviation Y D. A mile is a bigger measurement than a yard and is represented by the abbreviation M I. Finally, it looks like Zuri can really relax and read her magazine! "Freddie! What are you doing this time!" "I'm using this foot long sandwich to measure your face!" "What? No Freddie. I think you completely misunderstood!"

Inches, Feet, Yards, and Miles exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Inches, Feet, Yards, and Miles.
  • What are the units of length?

    Hints

    An abbreviation of a word just means a shorter version of the word.

    Sometimes the letters chosen from the abbreviation come from the beginning and end of the word.

    Solution

    An inch has the abbreviation in and is the smallest unit of measurement.

    A foot is next in line and the abbreviation is ft.

    After a foot comes a yard. The abbreviation is yd.

    Finally, the largest unit of measurement is the mile and the abbreviation is mi.

  • How big is each unit of length?

    Hints

    Use this image to help you remember the smallest to the largest units of measurement.

    The metric system is used in most places in the world to measure length... except the United States! The United States uses inches, feet, yards, and miles.

    Solution

    1) The smallest unit of length is an inch.

    2) The largest unit of length is a mile.

    3) A foot is made up of twelve inches. Just like a ruler!

    4) A yard is larger than a foot but smaller than a mile.

    5) Inches, feet, yards, and miles are used mostly in the United States while the metric system is used in most other countries.

  • Can you convert to a different unit of measurement?

    Hints

    Remember, a foot is equal to 12 inches. If the bench is 2 feet long, it can't be 6 inches!

    Remember, a foot is made up of 12 inches. So if the bench is 2 feet long, the problem is just 12 + 12.

    Solution

    The bench that Freddie sees is 24 inches long.

    As we saw in the question, the bench is 2 feet long. A foot is 12 inches. Since the bench is 2 feet long, we just add 12 inches + 12 inches to figure out that the bench in 24 inches or** 2 feet long**.

  • Can you match the lengths that are equal to each other?

    Hints

    Remember the pyramid to help you with the lengths of each unit. The inch is the smallest and the mile is the biggest.

    Use the partial chart pictured here to help you match some of the units of measure.

    Solution

    We can use many of the units of measurement to measure the same distance. The number depends on which unit of measure is being used!

    12 inches = 1 foot

    36 inches = 1 yard

    1 yard = 3 foot

    1,760 yards = 1 mile

    5,280 feet = 1 mile

  • Which are units of measurement?

    Hints

    Remember, units of length are not actually objects. We can use objects as examples and visuals of a unit of length!

    We can also use a ruler as an example of how long a foot is.

    Solution

    The actual units that we use to measure length are an inch, foot, yard, and mile. The inch being the smallest and the mile being the longest.

    The adult bicycle, paper clip, sandwich, and four laps of a track are all just ways we can visualize, or see, the units of length as a reference.

  • Can you convert to a different unit of measurement?

    Hints

    Remember, one yard is equal to 3 feet.

    Remember that 1 yard equals 3 feet. The problem is 3 feet x 3.

    Solution

    The ball that Freddie kicked is 9 feet away.

    The ball is 3 yards from Freddie. Each yard is equal to 3 feet. If we add each yard (3 feet) we get the problem 3 feet + 3 feet + 3 feet. 3+3+3= 9 feet!