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Scientific measurement can be a mundane and boring experience for some science students. It is, of course, necessary though to expose students to such basic skills. This way, they can build upon those skills as they learn new things throughout their career as a science student.
Lesson Objectives: This lesson meets the following New York State Intermediate Science core curriculum standards:
1. S2.1d use appropriate tools and conventional techniques to solve problems about the natural world, including measuring and observing
2. Process skills for standard 4: safely and accurately use the following measurement tools: metric ruler, balance, graduated cylinder
- Lab paper
- metric ruler
- meter stick
- triple beam balance
- graduated cylinder
- lab tables
- objects to measure.
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Step 1: Teacher will demonstrate proper use of measurement tools in science class. This will include all of the following:
a) Explaining difference between metric system and English system.
b) Showing which side of the ruler and meter sticks to use (m, cm and mm NOT inches, feet, and yards!)
c) Showing examples of measurement on the board, explaining cm and mm as measurements.
d) Explain abbreviations for meter, centimeter, and millimeter
e) Explain difference between length, height, width, and thickness.
f) A brief description of when you would use a meter stick, rather than the metric ruler for bigger measurements.
g) Demonstration of how to use the triple beam balance.
h) Demonstration of how to measure liquids in the graduated cylinder, using the meniscus (bottom of curve of the liquid).
Step Two: Teacher will split students into 6 groups of 3-4, giving them a lab station to work at.
Step Three: Assign group roles to the students within their groups. Examples include recorder, reader, time keeper, checker.
Step Four: Pass out the lab packet to the students. They should be able to start the lab on the first day, and finish the lab the following day of class.
Assessment: Download the scientific measurement lab, created by Jason Howe, 7th and 8th grade science teacher at Cohen Middle School, Elmira Heights, NY.
If students do well with the lab, perhaps no further labs would be required. If the teacher detects problem areas, more labs could be created to practice these skills. There are lots of things that can be measured in a class room. Furthermore, students could do a measurement lab outside as a follow up!