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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Farkas

The Best Tips to Help Students Measure Using a Protractor

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

Do you need to teach your upper elementary students how to measure an angle using a protractor? These tips are great to use when teaching your 4th-grade math students to measure degrees and find angle measurements using a protractor.

What is a protractor?

A protractor is a tool used to measure the degrees in an angle.

When should I teach measuring with a protractor?

I prefer to teach measuring angles with a protractor after students have learned what angles are, what the types of angles there are (acute, right, obtuse, and straight), and also that angles are measured in degrees. This is because it gives students some background knowledge on angles, as well as a few skills that would allow them to estimate angle measurements so they can tell if they are way off track when using a protractor.

What are some common mistakes students make when measuring angles?

  • Students often do not line the protractor up properly. Either they rush, and the protractor isn’t lined up correctly with the vertex and ray, or the protractor is facing the wrong direction so it isn’t measuring the angle.

  • Students read the wrong number on the protractor. For example, they will say an acute angle is the larger number. It’s important to tell students to use their knowledge of types of angles in order to double-check they are reading the protractor correctly.

  • Students get distracted by having a learning tool. Let’s just say I have had a few protractors spun around fingers and accidentally chucked across the room. I just make sure we have protocols and expectations set in place before we use any math tool.

Where can I find additional resources on protractors?

Check out this educational kids' math video on measuring angles with a protractor.

Types of angles math clipart

Here are my types of angles clipart set to add to teaching resources and to print out so that students can practice measuring angles!

Rainbow digital protractor clipart

These digital protractors are also great to practice measuring angles digitally before state testing.

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How to measure using a protractor youtube video



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