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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Master Innovations- Master Ruler Review

What's a little over 12 inches long, WAY cool, and something every homeschooler should own? The Master Ruler, that's what!

Simply put, the Master Ruler, which is available in standard and metric versions, is a multi-layered ruler that has a separate, color coded layer for each incremental measurement. So, for example, on the standard version, the inches are marked in red on a layer of white plastic. Then the inches with the half inches also delineated are marked in blue on a transparent layer. Then, on another transparent layer are the quarter inches are marked in green, and on another one the eighth inches are marked in orange. And finally, on the last transparent layer, the 16th inches are marked in purple. Sound confusing? Actually, it's anything but. This is the easiest-to-use ruler I've ever seen. And maybe seeing it would help, so here's a picture from their website:

See how the layer markings are each a little shorter than the previous layer? That means you can see each one easily. But the beauty in this ruler comes from the fact that the layers are joined by plastic rings (those green "blocks" you see on the picture above), and they allow each layer to rotate freely so you only need to use the layer you want. You can see that a little better in the picture below of the metric ruler and the workbook...
See how the ruler is laid open and only the centimeter layer is being used to measure the blue block? The part with the much finer lines is the millimeter layer, and that could actually be rotated under the rest of the ruler so it's completely out of the way.

Speaking of the workbook, there is a workbook available too for $15.95, with plenty of pictures to measure and several beautiful illustrations of color too. Plus activities like measuring lines and finding perimeter, as well as fraction work (with the master ruler, seeing the fractions within a measurement unit is easy). And larger units of measure are represented in the workbook too.
There is also a poster available for $10.00 that gives a visual representation of how units of measure relate to each other.
The pros: I think the Master Ruler is brilliant. It is so much easier for my kindergartner, and really all my children, to measure things when they are not being confused by all the little lines a standard ruler has to offer. With the Master Ruler, it's easy to measure to the nearest half inch or quarter inch because you can flip the other, smaller increments out of the way. And it's very durable. This is one ruler that will stand the test of time.
The cons: If you want the Master Ruler for home, you'd want the standard and the metric. And at $9.95 each, that's quite a bit for two rulers, no matter how great they are. I have to say, I'm not sure the workbook is worth it, as almost every math workbook out there provides things to measure, as does the real world, but it does give ideas for how to use the Master Ruler for intentional lessons. And the poster is nice, and large, but not really unique to the realm of educational posters either.
The bottom line: I wish they'd had the Master Ruler when I was a kid. It's so much easier to use than a regular ruler, especially if you are an older student measuring in small increments or a very young one just trying to learn to measure at all. I'm impressed enough with the Master Ruler to want to check out their other products: the Master Angle, Master Clock, and Master Fractions. If they do for those things what the Master Ruler does for Rulers, they would be marvels indeed.
To order The Master Ruler, or to see videos of it in use, go HERE. To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say about the Master Ruler or some of the other products I mentioned above by Master Innovations, go HERE.
Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received one of each Master Ruler, plus the workbook and poster for the purpose of giving my review. Those products are the only compensation I received for this review.
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