Teaching Students About Foot and Feet?

Foot and feet are Units of Measurement. They allow us to measure the length of a particular object or person. In addition, they can help us measure the distance from one area to another.

While foot denotes a single unit of measurement, ‘feet’ is its plural alternative. In this sense, the difference between foot and feet in Maths depends on how significant the distance or length you measure is.

For example, you might say;

  • “The baguette was one foot long,” as it’s relatively small compared to other lengths and distances.
  • “The tree was 20 feet high”.
  • “The children were sitting 7 feet away from the teacher”.

In Maths, understanding the difference between foot and feet is essential to know how far something is or its size. In addition, by applying the unit to several different objects or distances, we can also make objective comparisons.

For example, we can understand why one tree looks bigger than another: because it has a greater height! For example, tree A may be 20 feet high, whereas Tree B is only 15 feet tall. Or we could understand why one distance took longer to walk towards than another: it is further away from us.

One exception to the rule:

However, the difference between foot and feet can be confusing when certain plurals still use ‘foot’ when spoken aloud. A good example is a person’s height. We still might say, “The policeman was 6 foot tall,” or “I am 5 foot and 7 inches”. However, grammatically, it is correct to use ‘feet’ when writing this word or to abbreviate it to ‘ft.’

The Imperial System of Measurement:

It’s also worth mentioning that foot and feet derive from the Imperial system. It was a form of measurement that the British Parliament first initiated in 1824. Known as the Weights and Measurements Act, this dispersed across the British Empire in 1826 and was used in the United Kingdom to countries like Australia, New Zealand, and India.

Other units of measurement from the Imperial System are:

  • Pints (pt) and Gallons (gal) measure capacity. For example, ‘the man drank a pint of larger.
  • Pounds (lbs), Stones (st), and Ounces (oz) are used to measure weight. So, for example, you could say, ‘he weighed 9 stone and 7 pounds, or ‘the chef used 4 ounces of butter when making the cake’.
  • Along with foot and feet, we often use miles (mi) and inches (in) to describe and measure a distance. For example, ‘the journey was 10 miles long, or ‘my finger is 6 inches.

Alongside the Imperial system of measurement, there is also the Metric system. It is used more commonly than Imperial all over the world. When discussing units of measure, it’s essential to understand that both methods still exist. Sometimes, you might describe how heavy something is, and the person you’re talking to won’t know as they grew up with different measurement systems. Or you might follow a recipe with other unfamiliar measurement methods.

You might have to convert the units into their equivalent when this happens. But, by learning this, you’ll always be able to understand how long or heavy something is, regardless of its units.

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