Real World Math: Measurement - Estimating Distance

The ability to judge distance is learned by example. 

Once students have found their home or school in Google Earth, a good activity for them would be plotting paths of standard distances. Have them use the ruler tool to find the distance between landmarks known to them, and then match the distance with a drawn path.  They may have good idea of how far a mile is, but how about a kilometer?

The Kmz download is an example that demonstrates how distances of 1, 10, and 100 miles can be drawn from a single location.  These are matched by distances of 1, 10, and 100 kilometers.  This file is intended only as an example, as  each student’s personal creation will be more meaningful to him or herself.  Using these measures as a gauge, follow up questions can ask students to estimate distances between known locations.  Using the ruler tool they can check their estimates.

Additionally, students can learn how to use the “Path” setting of the ruler tool to measure indirect distances such as their route to school or the mall.


  • Draw standard measurements from a familiar landmark
  • Estimate and check measures between familiar landmarks
  • Work with different units of measure

Student Assignment Sheet

Technology Topics
GPS & Satellites, Online & Software Tools
Math Topics
Estimating & Rounding, Measurement & Time
Social Studies Topics
K-6, Middle School, Educator
4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade

What are you looking for?


Real World Math

Website URL

Type of Resource

Lesson Plan

Assigned Categories