Occaisonally I get the opportunity to work with CTE teachers on imbedding higher-level mathematics into their content. Their biggest complaint is that students do not know how to read a ruler.

A colleague of mine (Leslie Carson of SREB) told me about a CTE teacher who made the claim that every student knows how to read a ruler by the second day of his class. To accomplish this he has a policy that students will not be able to begin working in the “lab” until they score 1,000 points on **The Ruler Game** (at various levels). The Ruler Game is a great little online applet for students of all ages.

By implementing this policy, every student except for one earned the necessary points to enter the lab by the end of the first day of class. The one exception earned his 1,000 points within the first 5 minutes of day two!

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I take it you are referring to K-12 students. I was a teaching assistant in geology during graduate school. One of the lab exercises involved measuring distances on a topographic map. The kids were provided with a ruler and a map. I told the (college) students to measure the distance between two points, then use the scale at the the bottom to calculate the distance. A student raised her hand for help. I went over to help her, ready to impart my vast knowledge of mapping. She asked me, “…whaddaya mean…measure?”