Gretchen McCormick


Gretchen McCormick was trying to teach measurement to fifth graders during her student teaching experience at the School of Education, but her students could not grasp the lesson. Frustrated, McCormick used a Sharpie to change a normal ruler into something with different markings. Suddenly, the lesson clicked for the students – and for McCormick. She developed a ruler called Measure by Color, a ruler that denotes different measurements with color-coded markings. It makes what can be a difficult lesson more visual, taking away the confusion for students and adults alike.

“All I did was even the playing field,” McCormick, who graduated from the IU School of Education in 2003, noted. “We all think differently, we all learn differently, it’s perception. Even as adults we have that problem. I felt that was what was going on with measurement.”

Besides the colored markings, Measure By Color is unique in that it’s a ruler that actually goes end to end. And even though it helped her teach fifth graders, McCormick said it’s useful from preschool to high school – and beyond.