Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Starting off the Year with a Measurement Lab

Posted on: November 14, 2008

Perhaps I expect too much.  I think I am going to create a new lab that is just about measuring stuff correctly and accurately.  I had my own tools from when I was big enough to walk, so I take for granted that everybody knows how to read a tape measure or meter stick.  Apparently this and analog clocks are skills our children no longer have to master.  Despite three months of using nothing but meters in class and lab, I still have students who use the inches and feet when I lower my guard.

Moms and Dads, please teach your kids to use a ruler.  Not everything in life is a teacher’s job.  Sorry for the rant.


5 Responses to "Starting off the Year with a Measurement Lab"

My sentiments exactly! I am thoroughly amazed every day when I have at least one student not able to read our analog clock in the room when using the restroom, or going to inches when we have been using meter sticks all year to this point. Or the dreaded triple beam balance, please learn to use this students!!!!


I teach Chemistry at the high school level – and have an analog clock – but to make things “worse”, the numbers are replaced with the symbols of the first 12 elements. Even with the numbers and names immediately outside the clock face, kids risk detention (or worse) checking the time on their cell phone before signing out for a hall pass! Not just sophomores, either – Seniors are just as guilty! We live in a digital age, and unfortunately, kids aren’t used to the idea that not everything is digital!

OBTW – THANKS for your website! I stumbled across it looking for Physical Science demos, which is my weak point right now. I love the Mythbusters & Scientific Method, and am looking forward to perusing your other ideas!

Flinn has a great measurement lab if you still need one. It is in their first volume of their lab manuals.

By all means, link us to it or post your version of it. I’m always looking for something better.

This is a great metric system activity. It gets students out of their seats and measuring items around the classroom using the metric system. You could also give it as homework. By the way, I think there is an app on iPhones that has a metric ruler.

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What’s New in 2013/2014?

Every year brings a change, this one is no exception.

I will be picking up the sophomore honors Algebra II class to keep them separate from the juniors. This should help accelerate them and put them on a stronger track towards Calculus. Looks like there will be only one section each of Physics and Calculus, but still two of Robotics & Engineering.

Hot topics this year are going to be the Common-Core Standards, Standards-Based Grading (SBG), improving AP Calculus scores, and somehow adding Python, maybe as a club.

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