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Imperial Units

Learn about common imperial units and how they relate to other units of measurement

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Units of length

Mile comes from the Latin 'mille passum' which was how far a Roman soldier could walk in 1000 steps.

Yard derives from the old English word 'gyrd' which was used for branches, staves and measuring rods.

Foot as the name suggests was originally based on the length of a human foot.

Inch is derived from the word for thumb in some European languages, as a man's thumb is about an inch wide.

1 mile = 1760 yards1 yard = 3 feet1 foot = 12 inches

This is level 1: units of length. You will be awarded a trophy if you get at least 14 correct and you do this activity online.


What is the abbreviation or symbol used for yards?


What is the abbreviation or symbol used for miles?


What is the abbreviation or symbol used for inches?


How many inches are in a yard?


How many feet are in a


How many inches are in a mile?


How many inches are in 6 feet?


How many feet are in 8 yards?


How many yards are in 3 miles?


How many feet are equivalent to 60 inches?


How many yards are equivalent to 15 feet?


How many yards are equivalent to 144 inches?


I planned to walk a mile before breakfast but only managed 1000 yards. How many yards short of a mile did I walk?


A roll of paper used for printing receipts in a shop is nine and a half yards long.
How many inches is that length equivalent to?


How many short pieces of pipe four inches long can be cut from a pipe thirteen feet long?


Lofty was 4' 7" tall when he first joined Aston Cottage School. He is now 5' 10" in height.
By how many inches has his height increased?


Subtract 2' 9" from 9' 4" giving your answer as a number of inches.


The distance from Salinder's home to her school is 880 yd. She walks to school and back five times each week. What is the lotal length, in miles, of this journey each week?


Pedro's toy car is four inches long. Pedro's older sister has a real car that is four yards long. How many times longer is the real car than the toy car?


Find one quarter of six yards. Give your answer as a number of inches.


Rulers marked in inches often show each inch divided into sixteenths. It is very easy to mistake these divisions for tenths of an inch and give a reading as a decimal number. Beware!


This is Imperial Units level 1. You can also try:
Level 2 Level 3


Try your best to answer the questions above. Type your answers into the boxes provided leaving no spaces. As you work through the exercise regularly click the "check" button. If you have any wrong answers, do your best to do corrections but if there is anything you don't understand, please ask your teacher for help.

When you have got all of the questions correct you may want to print out this page and paste it into your exercise book. If you keep your work in an ePortfolio you could take a screen shot of your answers and paste that into your Maths file.

Why am I learning this?

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Striped Sweets

Colour the sweet wrappers so that no two are the same. A multi-level activity designed to encourage a systematic strategy for finding all of the different permutations.


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If you found this activity useful don't forget to record it in your scheme of work or learning management system. The short URL, ready to be copied and pasted, is as follows:

Alternatively, if you use Google Classroom, all you have to do is click on the green icon below in order to add this activity to one of your classes.

It may be worth remembering that if should go offline for whatever reason, there is a mirror site at that contains most of the resources that are available here on

When planning to use technology in your lesson always have a plan B!

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Description of Levels


Level 1 - Units of length

Level 2 - Units of weight

Level 3 - Units of capacity

Exam Style Questions - A collection of problems in the style of GCSE or IB/A-level exam paper questions (worked solutions are available for Transum subscribers).

More on this topic including lesson Starters, visual aids, investigations and self-marking exercises.

Answers to this exercise are available lower down this page when you are logged in to your Transum account. If you don’t yet have a Transum subscription one can be very quickly set up if you are a teacher, tutor or parent.

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Curriculum Reference

See the National Curriculum page for links to related online activities and resources.

Conversion Information

1 mile = 1760 yards1 yard = 3 feet1 foot = 12 inches

1 ton = 160 stones1 stone = 14 pounds1 pound = 16 ounces

1 gallon = 4 quarts1 quart = 2 pints1 pint = 20 fluid ounces


Compared to metric units

The sign ≈ means approximately equal to.

1 inch ≈ 2.5cm

5 miles ≈ 8 km

2.2 lb (pounds) ≈ 1kg

1.75 pints ≈ 1 litre

1 gallon ≈ 4.5 litres


Don't wait until you have finished the exercise before you click on the 'Check' button. Click it often as you work through the questions to see if you are answering them correctly. You can double-click the 'Check' button to make it float at the bottom of your screen.

Answers to this exercise are available lower down this page when you are logged in to your Transum account. If you don’t yet have a Transum subscription one can be very quickly set up if you are a teacher, tutor or parent.

Log in Sign up

Just when I thought I knew all of the imperial units I heard Matt Parker (Standup Maths) list them all, even the more obscure ones, in this wonderful monologue. When you hear their names and their relative sizes you cannot help but be grateful for the metric system which is more common today.

Matt Parker's Imperial Units

More or Less Podcast Matt Parker's Website Transum Podcast

This audio excerpt is from an excellent podcast from BBC Radio 4 called More or Less: Behind the Stats in which Tim Harford tries to make sense of the statistics which surround us. It's well worth a listen if you have an interest in mathematics and statistics and provides real world examples of the maths we learn in school.