Table of Contents for #02 Measuring Length:
Preparation and Support
A TOPS Model for Effective Science Teaching Getting Ready Gathering Materials Sequencing Task Cards Long Range Objectives Review / Test Questions
Activities and Lesson Notes
- 1. All Kinds of Measure
- 2. Metric Prefixes
- 3. Metric Equivalents
- 4. Miles and Kilometers
- 5. Estimate the Last Digit
- 6. Significant Figures
- 7. Hairline Measure
- 8. Agree / Disagree (1)
- 9. Agree / Disagree (2)
- 10. Norm Average
- 11. Long and Short
- 12. Rolling Measure
- 13. Nuts and Bolts (1)
- 14. Nuts and Bolts (2)
- 15. To the Moon
- 16. Line of Sight
rulers (millimeter, centimeter, inch, other units...)
Complete Master List for #02 Measuring Length:
Key: (1st/2nd/3rd) denote needed quantities: (1st) enough for 1 student doing all activities; (2nd) enough for 30 students working in 10 lab groups all self-paced; (3rd) enough for 30 students working in 10 lab groups, all doing the same lesson. Starred* items may be purchased below.
- * 1/1/1: box paper clips
- 1/10/10: scissors
- 1/10/10: index cards (optional)
- 5/50/50: meters adding-machine tape
- * 1/1/1: roll clear tape
- 1/20/20: meters string
- 1/10/10: clean empty cans, 15 ounce size is best
- * 1/1/1: roll masking tape
- 3/35/40: sheets notebook paper
- 1/2/5: state road maps
- 1/10/10: pennies
- 1/5/10: calculators
- * 1/10/10: 1/2 inch inside-diameter hex-nuts and bolts with flat undersides, about 1 inch long
- 1/1/1: bottle white glue
- * 1/5/10: straight pins
- * 1/1/1: small piece aluminum foil
regular strength, 20 square feet x 12 inches rolls
Buy aluminum foil here as a convenience item, or for less in many grocery stores.
Nut and Bolt
1/2 inch, steel
The bolt may be any length. We supply a 1 1/2 inch-long bolt with a 1/2 inch-inside-diameter nut to fit it, with 3/4 inch outside-diameter hex-heads on both pieces. Nut MUST screw up flush, to contact underside of bolt head. This is a specialty item for #02 Measuring Length.
size #1, steel, box of 100
Paper clips have 1001 uses in TOPS experiments, and science in general. Feel free to use paper clips you already have, but be aware that different brands come in different sizes and weights. In experiments where uniformity is important, don't mix brands.
steel, one and 1/16 inch long
Used in many TOPS experiments. Sometimes required for their magnetic properties. Don't purchase aluminum straight pins by mistake.
Tape - clear
3/4 inch x 1000 inch roll
Your standard desk tape with matte write-on surface.
Tape - masking
3/4 inch x 60 yd roll
A handy science supply used in most TOPS modules.
Teaching Tips for #02 Measuring Length:
We encourage improvisation - it's one of the main goals of our hands-on approach! You and your students might invent a simpler, sturdier or more accurate system; might ask a better question; might design a better extension. Hooray for ingenuity! When this occurs, we'd love to hear about it and share it with other educators. Please send ideas and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Science Education Standards (NRC 1996) for #02 Measuring Length:
These 16 task cards promote excellence in science teaching by these NSES criteria:
Teachers of science...
A: ...plan an inquiry-based science program. (p. 30)
B: ...guide and facilitate learning. (p. 32)
C: ...engage in ongoing assessment of their teaching and of student learning. (p. 37)
D: ...design and manage learning environments that provide students with the time, space, and resources needed for learning science. (p. 43)
These 16 task cards contain fundamental content as defined by these NSES guidelines (p. 109).
Represent a central event or phenomenon in the natural world.
Represent a central scientific idea and organizing principle.
Have rich explanatory power.
Guide fruitful investigations.
Apply to situations and contexts common to everyday experiences.
Can be linked to meaningful learning experiences.
Are developmentally appropriate for students at the grade level specified.
Unifying Concepts and Processes
NSES Framework: Systems, order, and organization Evidence, models and explanation Constancy, change, and measurement
Core Concepts/Processes: The metric system is a decimal-based standard of measure that the world scientific community recognizes.
Science as Inquiry (content standard A)
NSES Framework: Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations. Design and conduct a scientific investigation. Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data. Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. Think critically and logically to connect evidence and explanations. Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions. Communicate scientific procedures and explanations. Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
Core Inquiries: To read scales accurately, write all the figures you are sure about, then read between the lines to estimate the last digit.
Physical Science (content standard B)
NSES Framework: Properties of objects and materials
Core Content: Standards of measure Metric logic Significant figures
Science and Technology (content standard E)
NSES Framework: Abilities of technological design Understanding about science and technology
Core Content: A vernier caliper measures distance with greater precision, more significant figures.