Measuring Up

  • Time Length
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    1-2 hours

  • Mess Level
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    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
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Question and Wonder:

  • Why do we measure things?
  • How can you measure things without rulers and measuring tapes?

Imagine and Design:

  • What can you use to measure yourself? Teddy Bears? Crayons? Hands?
  • What do you think will give you the most accurate results?
  • Are you taller than you were last year? How can you find out?

What else would you want to measure and why? Design a way to measure yourself. What will you use? (This is called “unit of measurement”.) Measure yourself with your system and then use a ruler or measuring tape. Measure other things and vary your units of measurement.

Test and Discuss:

  • What did you use and how did it work?
  • How can you change your design?
  • Was it easier or harder than using a measuring tape? Why?
  • How accurate do you think your system is?
  • They used to measure things by hands and cubits. A cubit is the length of your forearm. Do you think that was a reliable way to measure things? Why?

Did You Know:

There is more than one system of measurement. Most countries use the metric system, while the United States uses the standard method. Explore more about the two systems of measurement here:

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