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ARTICLE

Measurement – introduction

Measurement is the process of obtaining the magnitude of a quantity relative to an agreed standard. The articles we have on measurement focus on the agreed standards of measurement in use in New ...

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ARTICLE

Measuring sound

Sound is a pressure wave caused when something vibrates, making particles bump into each other and then apart. The particles vibrate back and forth in the direction that the wave travels but do ...

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ACTIVITY

Measuring foot pressure

In this activity, students collect measurements that will enable them to calculate the pressure exerted by each foot when standing normally. SI units, derived units and prefixes will be used ...

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ACTIVITY

Precision and accuracy

In this activity, students analyse sets of data and decide whether the measurements are precise and/or accurate. By the end of this activity, students should be able to: define the terms ...

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ARTICLE

Measuring instruments

Collecting data is a crucial part of scientific inquiry. To study waves and the ocean sea level, scientists usually gather data through the use of instruments. They collect information about the ...

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ARTICLE

Non-SI units

A number of non-SI units are commonly used, even though the SI system of units allows for complete coverage of all scientific measurements. The reasons for this are historical and political as ...

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SI derived units

SI is built on seven fundamental standards called base units. All other SI units are derived by multiplying, dividing or powering the base units in various combinations, For example: mechanical ...

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Measuring greenhouse gas emissions

The three most important greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). While carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas we hear the most about ...

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ARTICLE

Powers of 10

The International Bureau of Weights and Measures has adopted a series of prefix names and symbols for decimal multiples and submultiples of SI units. They are expressed as powers of 10 and range ...

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ARTICLE

Pre-European Māori measurement

Due to the geographical isolation of New Zealand, pre-European Māori had little contact with neighbouring islands. Trade and commerce were internally based so there was no need for a precise ...

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ARTICLE

SI base units

Measurement of any quantity involves comparison with a precisely defined unit value. This is necessary for a measurement to mean the same thing in different places and to different people ...

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ARTICLE

Measurement systems

To measure the quantity of anything, we need a comparison with some precise unit value. Early humans used body parts and natural surroundings to provide suitable measuring instruments ...

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ACTIVITY

Making a thermometer

Thermometers measure temperature. Daniel Fahrenheit is credited with the invention of the first thermometer, which was constructed using glass and mercury. In this activity, students will ...

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Climate models

Climate affects our lives, and it will continue to affect our future. But how do we know what might change over time? Scientists often use models to represent and test ideas and processes. A ...

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ARTICLE

Measuring gases using eddy covariance

Measurement is an integral part of science. As technology progresses, so does the range and accuracy of what we can measure. Where once we made measurements using only our senses, University of ...

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ACTIVITY

Investigating pendulums – what matters?

In this investigation, students use simple equipment to scientifically determine the factors that influence the period of a pendulum. By the end of this activity, students should be able to ...

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ARTICLE

Measurements, weird and wonderful

This teacher resource is a collection of unusual measurement units not in common usage but of interest to those fascinated by the unusual. Student activities can be developed from some of the ...

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ACTIVITY

Making a barometer

Barometers work on the principle that the air pressure can change. High air pressure tends to indicate fair weather, and low air pressure can indicate poor or rainy weather. A barometer shows the ...

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ARTICLE

Changing the mass standard

Of the seven base SI units, mass is the only one still defined by a material artefact. Originally, 1 kilogram was defined as the mass of 1000 cm3 of water at 4 °C. Based on this, the ...

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ACTIVITY

Cubits, spans and digits

In this activity, students investigate the use of body parts such as the arm and fingers as a basis for developing a length measuring system. By the end of this activity, students should be able ...

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ACTIVITY

Making a rain gauge

Rain gauges are one of the most ancient weather instruments. The ancient Greeks and people in India were the first known to keep rainfall records, about 400–500 BC. In 1441, Korea invented the ...

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ACTIVITY

Making an anemometer

English astronomer John Robinson invented the anemometer in 1846. Anemometers measure wind speed and have become one of the essential tools for weather forecasting. ‘Anemos’ is the Greek word for ...

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ACTIVITY

Calculating potential and kinetic energy

In this activity, students calculate the kinetic and potential energy of a specific object. By the end of this activity, students should be able to: identify two forms of kinetic energy identify ...

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