Presented by C.E. Tanner and M.A.H. Smith
Virginia Air and Space Center
January 23, 1993
To provide a positive science experience and introduce students to fundamental concept of measurement.
Understand fundamental concepts of measurement through activities (give in parentheses).
- Absolute vs. relative measurement (balance, hygrometer, compare lengths of string)
- Accuracy and precision (balance, linear measures)
- Standards (body parts as units; metric overview)
- Estimating large quantities/distances ("count" rice; Da Vinci odometer)
Take-home project: balance
- plastic ruler with holes (x20)
- ten to twenty paper clips (x20)
- two 3-5 oz. plastic or paper cups (x20)
- 10-20 pennies (x20)
- 5-10 nickels (x20)
- masking tape
- scissors and/or 1-hole punch
- Objects to be weighed (eraser, 1 ft.length of nylon cord, large nail, piece of sponge, seashell, piece of black chalk)
- Weight data sheet
- "standard" scientific balance
- 2-5 lab stands with clamps to support balances
- Tape measures (various lengths, metal and cloth)
- Yardsticks and other measuring sticks
- machinist's rule
- nylon cord (fathom, yard)
- handouts about units of measure (4 sheets)
- poster board or blackboard to record results
- 10-lb. bag of rice
- two large plastic buckets
- 1/8 cup and 4 cup measures
MEASUREMENTS LESSON PLAN
(Times were estimated before class was taught.)
- Introduction - talk about measurements in students' daily lives and in NASA work (15 min.).
- Body parts as units of measurement (20 min.)
- Discussion of historial origin of common length measurements.
- Activity for students to measure their own inch, foot, yard, etc., and compare results.
- Tour of Da Vinci's models (30 min.)
- Parachute - relate to "braccio" unit of length
- Odometer - relate to estimation
- Milling machine - relate to concept of precision
- Hygrometer - discuss absolute vs. relative measurements
- Tensile strength tester - using weight measurement to estimate wire strength, relate to NASA structural load tests.
- Standards (10 min.)
- Review differences in body part measurements
- Discuss need for standards
- Overview of metric system
- Discuss appropriate standards - demonstrate rulers and tape measures that don't agree, show metal machinist's rule and
prevision calipers; talk about standard meters kept in Paris and at National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S.
- Measuring weight (30-45 min.)
- Build a simple balance from ruler, paper clips, and paper cups.
- Use balance to compare weights; discuss relative and absolute measurements.
- Students choose a standard unit (penny, nickel, or paper clip), and use their balance to
weigh 6 common small objects (eraser, length of cord, nail, sponge, seashell, piece of chalk), and
record results on a worksheet.
- Convert weight measurements to grams using weight of their "standard" on a scientific balance; compare weights
of same objects and disucss accuracy and precision.
- Estimate large quantities (choose one activity or both if time permits) - problem solving (15 min. max)
- Length of room (relate to Da Vinci odometer)
- Number of rice grains in a large container (use balances)
Stand of some kind (for hanging balance)
Ruler with holes
Paper clips to attach pieces
Hole puncher (for cups)
Masking tape (to ad to rulers in order to evenly balance the empty cups)
- Students make balance, using masking tape to ensure the empty cups actually balance and to hold the paper clips in place if the rule has slots or large holes.
- Students order test objects according to weight, determining only the relative weight.
- Students select a "standard" (such as a penny, a nickle, a B-B, or a paper clip) and "weigh" the test objects, recording the weights in their given units (3 pennies +/- a half penny). Precision will vary based on standard.
- Students compare their weights with the true standard, using a precision scientific scale.
The Egyptians and other ancient peoples
used parts of their bodies
as measurement units.
BODY PARTS AS UNITS OF MEASUREMENT
||Originally was the length of three barley grains placed end to end. Distance from tip of thumb to first knuckle, or from first to second knuckle on index finger.
My INCH = ____________________ INCHES
||Length of foot from longest toe to heel
My FOOT = _____________________ INCHES
||Distance from tip of nose to end of thumb with arm outstretched (cloth merchants, King Henry I)
My YARD = _______________________ INCHES
||Width of one hand, including the thumb (height of horses)
My HAND = ________________________ INCHES
||Length from point of bent elbow to middle fingertip (Egyptian pyramids, Noah's ark)
My CUBIT = _______________________ INCHES
||Italian for "an arm's length" (Da Vinci's parachute)
My BRACCIO = _______________________INCHES
||From the Anglo-Saxon word for "embrace," it was the length of rope held between two hands with the arms outstretched. (sailors)
My FATHOM = ________________________ INCHES
||Length of a single step. In Roman times one pace was a double step, and our MILE came from the Latin mille passuum, meaning 1000 paces.
My PACE = ___________________________ INCHES
STANDARD INTERNATIONAL (SI or metric) UNITS
||Defined by the french Republic in 1793 to be 1 ten-millionth of the distance from the Equator to the North Pole, as measured through Paris.
||1/100 of a meter
||1/10 of a centimeter
||Weight of pure water in a cube-shaped container having each side 1 centimeter long.
||1000 grams (also called KILO)
||Volume of pure water in a cube-shaped container having each side 1 centimeter long (also called CUBIC CENTIMETER or CC)
||ENGLISH UNITS   and
||= about 2-1/2 CENTIMETERS
||= 12 INCHES
||= about 30 CENTIMETERS
||= 3 FEET = 36 INCHES
||= about 1 METER
||= about 4 INCHES
||= about 10 CENTIMETERS
||= about 1/2 YARD
||= about 46 CENTIMETERS
||= 15 to 39 INCHES
||= about 1/2 to 1 METER
||= 6 FEET
||= about 2 METERS
||= 5,280 FEET
||= about 1-1/2 KILOMETERS
||= about 28 GRAMS
||= 16 OUNCES
||= about 1/2 KILOGRAM
||= about 5 MILLILITERS
||= 3 TEASPOONS
||= about 15 MILLILITERS
||= 16 TABLESPOONS
||= about 250 MILLILITERS
||= 4 CUPS
||= about 1 LITER
||= 4 QUARTS
||= about 4 LITERS
TO LEARN MORE. . .
GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS ABOUT MEASUREMENTS
- SN003-003-03096-1 (SP 304) large poster
- "Modernized Metric System" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2.50 each
- SN003-003-03097-0 (SP 304A) small 2-page color chart
- "A Brief History of Measurement". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1.25 each
- SN003-003-03090-2 (SP 365) wallet-size plastic ard
- "Metric Conversion Chart". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$8.13 per 100
- SN003-003-03089-9 (SP 376) small (17 cm) plastic ruler
- "Metric Measures Up". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $28.00 per 100
- ORDER FROM:
- Superintendent of Documents
U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO)
Washington, DC 20402
Phone: (202) 783-3238
Fax: (202) 512-2250
- OTHER INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE FROM:
- U.S. Department of Commerce
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Publications and Program Inquiries
Room A047, Administration Building
Gaithersburg, MD 20899
Phone: (301) 975-3058
Fax: (301) 975-2128
Call (301) 957-3585 to make reservations for tours of the NIST facilities in Gaithersburg, conducted on Thursday mornings.
WEIGHT DATA SHEET
My unit of weight is ____________________.
One __________________ weighs _____________ GRAMS.
| OBJECT ||WIEGHT IN MY UNITS||WEIGHT IN GRAMS|
|1 ft. nylon cord
|Black chalk piece
||butter or margarine, softened|
||firmly packed brown sugar|
||168 gram packages semisweet chocolate chips|
Preheat the oven to 190oC. In small bowl, combine
flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In large
bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar,
and vanilla; beat until creamy. Beat in eggs.
Gradually add flour mixture; mix well. Stir
in chocolate chips and nuts. Using 5 mL measure,
drop by rounded measures onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 100 5 cm cookies.
|Liquid and Dry Measure Equivalencies*
||1/4 teaspoon||1.25 milliliters
|1/2 teaspoon||2.5 milliliters
|1 teaspoon||5 milliliters
|1 tablespoon||15 milliiters
|1 fluid ounce||30 milliliters
|1/4 cup||60 milliliters
|1/3 cup||80 milliliters
|1/2 cup||120 milliliters
|1 cup||240 milliliters
|1 pint (2 cups)||480 milliliters
|1 quart (4 cups, 32 ounces)||960 milliliters (0.96 liters)
|1 gallon (4 quarts)||3.84 liters
|1 ounce (by weight)||28 grams
|1/4 pound (4 ounces)||114 grams
|1 pount (16 ounces)||454 grams
|2.2 pounds||1 kilogram (1000 grams)
||Oven Temperature Equivalencies