From: Susan Aycock (SAYCOCK@starkville.k12.ms.us)
Date: Mon Mar 17 2003 - 13:20:52 EST
I teach all the Jr High and High School sciences for our small school and every one of them begins each term with measurement. After explaining metric terms I always show the award winning short video "Powers of Ten." I first saw it while visiting the Smithsonian Institution and it impresses upon the students as nothing else can what multiplying times ten does to a measurement. I vary the projects each year according to the students, time, and available funds. Here are some of the measurement project I've done in the past few years:
1. Bird houses or feeders and feed. The students are given measurements in metric units and must measure and cut their 1x8 board according to the directions. If they don't measure properly, the bird house does not come together well. One day 2 a bird feed recipe is given with metric mass and volume directions, suet is measured with an indirect volumetric measure.
2. The students make 3 different concentrations of salt water, color them different colors and make a density column with a straw or glass tube.
3. Make bath salts using metric mass and volume measurements. Divide and color them and layer like sand art in a clean, dry plastic container from home and send home as gifts.
4. Measure and take mass of meal worms. Take the average mass of meal worms, pupae and beetles. One would expect mass and size to increase with maturity. Does it? Graph the results. What accounts for the difference?
Make small amounts of saline and sugar solutions and soak cotton balls with them. Note the behavior of the mealworms toward each type of solution.
5. Each student group is an evaluation team for a corporation that has submitted bids for companies to subcontract making chocolate sandwich cookies. Evaluate three different types of chocolate sandwich cookies, including mass, area and volume of each cookie and filling. Submit your report for the most value for the money.
4. Bring in the directions for an industrial cleaner, fertilizer or insecticide. "This calls for a 1000 liter container ... I have a container that will hold only 20 liters or 100 ml ..... how can I convert the instructions so I can use them?"
5. Have the students make 100 ml of normal saline solution and color it. Most children's medicines are delivered in 5 ml dosages. Measure out a 5 ml dose. Use various common measuring devices - does the measurement vary? Discuss accuracy and precision. What implications does the variation have on the health of a child?