Activity Alert: Measure & Distance

By Mathnasium | January 26, 2022

In the United States, we use standard units such as inches and feet to measure many things, but have you ever used the furlong or fathom?

A furlong was historically used in land measurement and farming. The name means “furrow length.” The “long furrow” was the greatest distance a team of oxen could plow before having to rest, which is how it became the length of one acre of land. Eventually, this length was standardized. Today, in the United States, a furlong is mostly used in horse racing.

A fathom is strictly found in nautical contexts and is frequently used for measuring water depth. Fun fact: the Old English meaning of the word “fathom” is “outstretched arms,” as it was originally calculated to be the span from one hand to the other. Does your arm span measure one fathom? 😉

Today’s activities take a look at the conversions of these unique units and find distances between cities. So, pull up a chair, download the files, and have fun exploring these activities with your child! When ready, compare their answers against ours to see how they did.


Follow our Number Sense Blog for more math activities, or visit a Mathnasium Center nearest you.