Geometry Tools

What are Geometric Tools? - Ruler, Compass, Protractor and Divider

We are surrounded by all kinds of shapes around us. Circular, spherical, triangular, cylindrical are just some of the various types of shapes that we encounter in our day to day life. Mathematics is a vast field of study which is branched into several other fields which often correlate to each other. The reason that we are surrounded by these shapes is that, they are an integral part in many aspects which makes our lives easier. The study of these shapes of various sizes and dimensions is known as geometry. Geometry is one of the most widely studied branch of mathematics which has been igniting curiosity in human beings since ancient times. The magnificent works of architecture that we see around us would not have been possible without the knowledge of geometry. Be it the Eiffel tower in Paris or the beautiful Taj Mahal in India, all these astounding monuments are a miracle of geometry. Not only the man- made works, but the beauty of geometry could be found in mother nature herself! Let us take a beehive as an example. A beehive is a perfect example of a hexagonal shape. Beehives are a constructional work made by bees and yet considering the perfectly smooth edges and the uniformity of the intricate structure we can say that geometry is something which can be done even by the simplest of the beings. Consider the colorful rainbow. A rainbow is an example of a perfect natural semi- circle. Even the beautiful sea shells. In some of the seashells we can see very intricate closely spaced patterns which are known as logarithmic patterns. And then how we neglect a spider web. In fact, a spider web is a shape. And then there’s the most common shape that we see and admire all throughout our lives. The spherical shape of a full moon. So, we can see that geometrical shapes not only exist in the boring studies of mathematics and science, but they also make up some of the most beautiful patterns and structures occurring naturally in nature. 

Now let us get into the more technical terms of geometry. Broadly speaking, the types of geometry can be divided into three categories. One is the Euclidean geometry, second is the elliptical geometry and the third is the hyperbolic geometry. The first category of geometry that is the Euclidean geometry was the earliest type of geometry that was ever actually defined and explained. It was first studied by the Greek mathematician Euclid. Euclid formulated the basic five postulates in order to explain his geometry. After him many other mathematicians carried on the study of geometry which provided us with the tremendous knowledge of one of the most important branches of mathematics. 

Now when we talk about geometry the basic thought that comes in our mind is construction, that is construction of various structures around us. As mentioned before, the construction of the colossal architectural works would have been impossible without the knowledge of the field of geometry. Now, the study of any field is not at all complete without the practical knowledge of the field. The theoretical knowledge gives us an idea of how to do the work, but it would not actually help us is “doing” that work. Here is where the importance of tools comes in. Various tools are required for various activities. As we require a shovel to dig the ground in the same way we will require various tools to create these geometrical shapes. Now, technically speaking, a tool is a means to bring about changes in one’s surroundings.

 With the help of tools, we can enhance our ability to do certain things and help us in accomplishing certain projects which would be otherwise, nearly impossible to achieve. To do a job we may need more than a single type of tool. In fact, more than often it is possible that that might require more than one type of tool. In order to draw the various type of geometrical shapes, we require various tools. To draw the shapes of the practical geometry we require tools like a ruler, a compass, a protractor, set squares, roller scales, divider, known as geometrical tools. In the early days, the mathematicians who used to study the various geometrical shapes and sizes, used simple geometrical tools like a ruler and a compass. With more and more knowledge and the increasing need for new structural designs, a greater number of geometrical tools were incorporated in the field of geometry. Let us now look at some of the most commonly used geometrical tools:


A ruler is also called as a straightedge. The name straightedge was more commonly used in the early days. Now a days people use the word ruler. Now, a straightedge does what its name implies, that is, to draw straight edges. Thus, a ruler is used whenever we need to draw simple straight lines. The required length of the line is measured and then drawn. Now the measurement of the line can be in any form of measurement unit. The most commonly used measurement scales are the centimeter scale, the meter scale and the inches scale. Often the centimeter scale comprises of millimeter scale on one side and then the inches scale on the other side of the ruler.

A Compass: 

A compass is used basically used to draw a circular figure. It can be used to draw a circle whose radius or the diameter is known, and it can also be used to draw an arc of some specified radius. Thus, if we need to draw a semicircle then also, we can use a compass. If we talk about the construction of a compass, then a compass usually has a metallic body and one of its ends is pointed. This is to give us the grip on the paper and define the center of the circle when we draw it. It is v in shape, and it comes with a pencil holder. The two arms of the compass can be adjusted based on the length required. 

A protractor: 

When we need to draw some angle then we use the geometrical tool known as a protractor. The protractor scale is graduated in degrees. Thus, it can also be used to measure any unknown angle. Generally, a protractor consists the graduation scale from 0 degrees to 180 degrees. But it can also consist of a whole 360 degree of graduations, that is, a full circle. 

A divider: 

A divider almost looks, like a compass. It is also v in shape. But unlike in a compass, it does not consist of a pencil holder in one of its arms. In a divider, both of its arms are pointed at one of their ends. When we need to compare two lengths of any measurement then we use the divider. It can also be used to measure the unknown length with the help of a ruler.

A set square: 

Now, if we need to draw a parallel line or even a perpendicular line then we can use a set square. To talk about the structure of a set square, it has a body which is usually made up of plastic. It is triangular and consists of graduations which can vary. there are usually two types of set squares. One is where the three angles of the triangle are 90 degrees and 45 and 45 degrees, whereas the other has angles as 90, 60 and 30 degrees.