Introduction to Measurement

 

Objectives: After completing the lesson, students will be able to:

  identify the basic units for measuring length, liquid volume, mass, and temperature using the International System of Units

  identify the measurement tools to measure length, liquid volume, mass, and temperature in the International System of Units

  identify the  prefixes used in the International System of Units, and explain what they mean

  convert units of measurement in the International System of Units

 

Key Question: "How do scientists measure objects?"

 

Overview: In this introductory lesson, students are introduced to the International System of Units (abbreviated SI), as a process scientists use to measure length, liquid volume, mass, and temperature. It is best left up to the individual teacher how best to explain the International System of Units, and the metric system from which it was derived. It is important that students are exposed to the vocabulary of the metric system, and learn how to calculate conversions between units. It is also a good idea to allow some time for students to practice using rulers, balances, graduated cylinders, and thermometers. Measuring objects they bring to class or themselves is usually an interesting approach. The important goal is exposure: future lessons will provide students with a chance to measure objects in a more interesting context.

 

Time Required: 2 class sessions (45-60 minutes each).

 

Materials:


for each group of 2-4 students

  metric rulers

  triple beam or pan balances

  graduated cylinders

  water

  thermometers


 

for each student

  a copy of each of the following student worksheets from the Inquiry Skills Activity Book:

  "Measuring," (pp. 27-28)

  "Calculating," (pp. 34-36)

  "Measuring: Length," (pp. 29-30)


 

 

  a copy of each of the following student worksheets from this binder:

  "Changing Metric Units"

  "Metric Prefixes"

  one copy of "SI Units and Conversion Tables," p. iv of the Focus on Earth Science: Laboratory Manual


 

Procedure:

            Day 1: Begin the lesson by giving each student a copy of the student handouts. Briefly demonstrate the proper procedure for using a metric ruler, a balance, a graduated cylinder, and a thermometer, focusing on measuring length at this point. Guide the students through an explanation of the types of units in the metric system, the prefixes and their meaning, and the process used to convert between units. It is important to proceed with as many examples as needed, until students have had ample time to practice working with the vocabulary. End the lesson by giving the students a chance to use the various measurement tools. Remind the students to bring in their favorite stuffed animal from home.

           

            Day 2: Review the assigned homework, focusing on the units used to measure length, mass, and volume, the meaning of the prefixes, and conversion between units. Remind the students that if they have not done so, bring in their favorite stuffed animal from home.

 

Assessment:

  "Calculating" worksheet, pp. 34-36 in the Inquiry Skills Activity Book

  "Metric Prefixes" worksheet

 

Homework:

  read pp. 714-715 in Focus on Earth Science (the Prentice-Hall, district adopted textbook).

  read "Measuring," pp. 27-28 in the Inquiry Skills Activity Book

  read "Calculating," pp. 34-35 in the Inquiry Skills Activity Book

  complete the "Calculating" worksheet, p. 36 in the Inquiry Skills Activity Book

  complete "Metric Prefixes" worksheet

  read "Measuring Length," pp. 29-30 in Inquiry Skills Activity Book

  bring in your favorite stuffed animal from home

 

OUSD Science Content Standards (State of California Science Content Standards):  #1-b (7-b).

 

References:

Focus on Earth Science: Laboratory Manual. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc., 2001, p. iv.

 

Inquiry Skills Activity Book. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2001, pp. 27-30, and 34-36.

 

Notes:

            It is usually difficult to get 6th graders to bring objects from home to use in class. Therefore, several days before asking them to bring in their favorite stuffed animals, make sure to mention they will be doing so. Also, for those who bring in their animals early, make sure to provide a safe, secure storage space for their "treasures."

            There are a number of excellent sources for teaching metric measurement, in addition to the materials provided by Prentice-Hall. A few of these are referenced below:

 

Franco, Betsy. Key to Metric Measurement, vols. 1-4. Emeryville, CA.: Key Curriculum Press, 2000.

 

FOSS (Full Option Science System): Measurement. Chicago, IL.: Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corporation, 1993.

 

Metric Measure, vol. 06. TOPS Learning Systems, 1992.

 

Metric Measure, vol. 35. TOPS Learning Systems, 1992.

 

 

            The Key Curriculum Series breaks all aspects of metric measurement into lessons that are easy for the student to master. They have the additional advantage of allowing the student to learn and pace themselves on their own.

 

            FOSS kits were adopted by the district during the adoption cycle previous to the current one. The "Measurement" kit was distributed to each site, and contains a full set of four lessons for teaching the metric measurement of length, mass, volume, and temperature. The materials include a full class set of graduated cylinders, pan balances and weights, thermometers, and student masters. Each kit is supposed to be restocked at the end of the year, and is also available through the district.

           

            The TOPS books each provide 20 activities that cover all aspects of metric measuring. Each activity is a complete lesson, using easily obtained materials.

 

   It is important to introduce the metric system of measurement as early in the school year as convenient. As the year progresses, it will be necessary to take advantage of every opportunity to review metric measurements, units, and conversions, and to work these concepts into the "hands-on," or laboratory part of the science curriculum. There are also convenient opportunities in the math curriculum to review metric measurement and conversion concepts.

 

 

Key Vocabulary:

 

International System of Units (abbreviated SI): the International System of Units is a set of standard measurement units that builds on the metric system. The key feature of this system is that conversion between smaller and larger units of measurement is based on multiples of 1.

 

temperature: a measure of how hot or cold something is. More specifically, temperature is a measure of how fast the molecules in an object are moving.