# Do You Measure Up?

In this worksheet, students will have a chance to focus on the important 'measuring' aspect of scientific investigations - measure what, how, with what and what can go wrong.

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Exam-Style Questions: SATs Science

Curriculum subtopic:   Exam-Style Questions: Measuring

Difficulty level:

### QUESTION 1 of 10

Have you looked at the very helpful 'Planning' and 'Carrying Out' activities yet?

When you've got a scientific problem that you want to solve or an idea you want to follow through, making sure you've planned your investigation carefully before you pitch in saves a lot of time and irritation!

Many investigations involve measurement - it might be a length, a temperature, a time, a current, a weight - but in order to measure it you need to know:

• what you're trying to measure (and so find out about)
• what units you'll need (mm, g, oC, A, sec, etc.)
• what instrument or device you'll need to measure with
• how you keep a record of what you find out
• how many times you'll need to repeat your measurements

Another thing you'll need to factor in - as an investigative scientist - is accuracy: are your measurements accurate?

Accurate data is vital - otherwise, the results won't make sense and all that hard work will be wasted.

For example, imagine you wanted to know how fast your pet dinosaur can run.

Let's say you timed it and found it ran 10m in 3 seconds and then told everyone, "Hey, my Dino can run at 30 miles an hour!"

It's all wrong!!  Wrong calculation, wrong units, wrong answer - EEK!

So, let's join Mrs. Bates's Year 3 class who are measuring the size of their school playground in order to work out how to fit in a scale model of our solar system.

Mrs. Bates has a range of devices that each group in her class can choose to use to measure the length and width of the playground.

For each device in the list choose whether it would be SUITABLE or UNSUITABLE to use to measure the length and width of the playground.

The class are divided into groups of four and set to measuring the width of their playground, using the device they have chosen.

Mrs. Bates tells them to measure the width one way and then measure back the other way and compare their two values.

Why do you think she gets them to measure it twice?  Tick any answers you agree with.

It's more accurate

It's easier to see if they've made a mistake

You always measure twice in science

It makes it a fair test

It fills the lesson time

Kelly's group are using a 3m tape measure and their two measurements for the width of the playground are 14.4m and 14.8m.

How many times did they need to move their tape measure in order to find out the width of the playground (going one way)?

It's more accurate

It's easier to see if they've made a mistake

You always measure twice in science

It makes it a fair test

It fills the lesson time

Once every group had their measurements for the width of the playground, Mrs. Bates entered them on to a chart.

Here's what they found:

 GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 WIDTH measure #1 14.4m 15.1m 14.7cm 14m 30cm 15.5m 14.9m 149cm 1.4km ​WIDTH measure #2 14.8m 15.5m 14.2cm 14m 80cm 15.2m 15.4m 146cm 1.4km

Which groups have made a mistake with their units?

Groups 1/3/4/6

Groups 2/4/5/7

Groups 3/4/5/8

Groups 3/4/7/8

Complete the sentence to explain why Group 4's measurements ("14m 30cm/14m 80cm") are wrong:

Groups 1/3/4/6

Groups 2/4/5/7

Groups 3/4/5/8

Groups 3/4/7/8

Mrs. Bates will have had quite a bit to say to the class about their measurements before they tackle measuring the length of the school playground.  However, there's enough data there to see how wide their school playground is, isn't there?

Use the information in their results table to answer the question below.

 GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 WIDTH measure #1 14.4m 15.1m 14.7cm 14m 30cm 15.5m 14.9m 149cm 1.4km ​WIDTH measure #2 14.8m 15.5m 14.2cm 14m 80cm 15.2m 15.4m 146cm 1.4km
Groups 1/3/4/6

Groups 2/4/5/7

Groups 3/4/5/8

Groups 3/4/7/8

Look at the class results again:

 GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 WIDTH measure #1 14.4m 15.1m 14.7cm 14m 30cm 15.5m 14.9m 149cm 1.4km ​WIDTH measure #2 14.8m 15.5m 14.2cm 14m 80cm 15.2m 15.4m 146cm 1.4km

Group 7 put their answer in cm. Their first result is 149cm. What is that length in metres?  (Don't forget to add the abbreviated unit!)

Next, the groups were allowed to choose a different measuring device if they wanted to and then they started to measure the length of the playground.

Here's what they found out:

 GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 LENGTH measure #1 24.8m 25.2m 24.5m 25.1m 24.2m 25.2m 24.9m 24.845m ​ LENGTH measure #2 24.7m 24.7m 24.5m 26.6m 24.5m 25.4m 25.4m 25.103m

Mrs. Bates talked to the class about accuracy, but one group has been too accurate.  Which group is that?

3

4

6

8

So, looking at their data, what can you say about the length of their school playground?

 GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 LENGTH measure #1 24.8m 25.2m 24.5m 25.1m 24.2m 25.2m 24.9m 24.845m ​ LENGTH measure #2 24.7m 24.7m 24.5m 26.6m 24.5m 25.4m 25.4m 25.103m
3

4

6

8

If the class are going to measure out the solar system in their playground, which dimension would you recommend that Mrs. Bates's class use, based on their findings?

Length

Width

Height

Time

• Question 1

Mrs. Bates has a range of devices that each group in her class can choose to use to measure the length and width of the playground.

For each device in the list choose whether it would be SUITABLE or UNSUITABLE to use to measure the length and width of the playground.

EDDIE SAYS
So, stopwatches measure time, thermometers measure temp. and forcemeters measure ... er... force! You're looking for length. 30cm ruler - for a playground? You'll be there forever! A meter ruler is just OK (bit tedious, turning it over and over!), but a long tape measure or a trundle wheel is best for measuring long(ish) distances.
• Question 2

The class are divided into groups of four and set to measuring the width of their playground, using the device they have chosen.

Mrs. Bates tells them to measure the width one way and then measure back the other way and compare their two values.

Why do you think she gets them to measure it twice?  Tick any answers you agree with.

It's more accurate
It's easier to see if they've made a mistake
EDDIE SAYS
In science you might measure twice, but then you might measure 10 times! Fair tests have to do with keeping one variable the same while the others are changed to see what happens - this is about repeating measurements for accuracy and reliability.
• Question 3

Kelly's group are using a 3m tape measure and their two measurements for the width of the playground are 14.4m and 14.8m.

How many times did they need to move their tape measure in order to find out the width of the playground (going one way)?

EDDIE SAYS
Their tape measure can measure up to 3m. Their measurement is over 14m, so that's five movements (0-3/3-6/6-9/9-12/12-15).
• Question 4

Once every group had their measurements for the width of the playground, Mrs. Bates entered them on to a chart.

Here's what they found:

 GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 WIDTH measure #1 14.4m 15.1m 14.7cm 14m 30cm 15.5m 14.9m 149cm 1.4km ​WIDTH measure #2 14.8m 15.5m 14.2cm 14m 80cm 15.2m 15.4m 146cm 1.4km

Which groups have made a mistake with their units?

Groups 3/4/7/8
EDDIE SAYS
The width of the playground is clearly about 15m and so Group 8's answer in km is clearly wrong, as is Group 3's tiny 14cm! Group 7 doesn't know that there are 100cm in a metre and Group 4 has mixed up their units - you can have an answer in m or cm but not in a mixture of both!
• Question 5

Complete the sentence to explain why Group 4's measurements ("14m 30cm/14m 80cm") are wrong:

EDDIE SAYS
When you were taught about units, you were taught not to mix up the units but to use a decimal point. So, never 14m and 30cm but always 14.3m - right?
• Question 6

Mrs. Bates will have had quite a bit to say to the class about their measurements before they tackle measuring the length of the school playground.  However, there's enough data there to see how wide their school playground is, isn't there?

Use the information in their results table to answer the question below.

 GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 WIDTH measure #1 14.4m 15.1m 14.7cm 14m 30cm 15.5m 14.9m 149cm 1.4km ​WIDTH measure #2 14.8m 15.5m 14.2cm 14m 80cm 15.2m 15.4m 146cm 1.4km
EDDIE SAYS
If we ignore the results with incorrect units, they range from 14.2m to 15.5m so, to the nearest whole metre, that's 15m.
• Question 7

Look at the class results again:

 GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 WIDTH measure #1 14.4m 15.1m 14.7cm 14m 30cm 15.5m 14.9m 149cm 1.4km ​WIDTH measure #2 14.8m 15.5m 14.2cm 14m 80cm 15.2m 15.4m 146cm 1.4km

Group 7 put their answer in cm. Their first result is 149cm. What is that length in metres?  (Don't forget to add the abbreviated unit!)

1.49m
1.49 m
EDDIE SAYS
We're being a bit picky here, so you have to get the unit right as well as the number! 100cm in 1m, so that means that 149cm must be 1.49m. Not only did the group get the unit wrong, but they were also miles out with their length too! In cm, the width of their playground should have read 1490cm!
• Question 8

Next, the groups were allowed to choose a different measuring device if they wanted to and then they started to measure the length of the playground.

Here's what they found out:

 GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 LENGTH measure #1 24.8m 25.2m 24.5m 25.1m 24.2m 25.2m 24.9m 24.845m ​ LENGTH measure #2 24.7m 24.7m 24.5m 26.6m 24.5m 25.4m 25.4m 25.103m

Mrs. Bates talked to the class about accuracy, but one group has been too accurate.  Which group is that?

8
EDDIE SAYS
We're all for accuracy, here at EdPlace, but sometimes you can overdo it! In any case, judging by the lengths that the class are getting, there's no way you can be more accurate than 0.1m (10cm) - not with the equipment they're using. After all, they only need to know an approximate length to be able to see whether they can fit a solar system model into it! Group 8 had the length to the nearest mm, which is ridiculous!
• Question 9

So, looking at their data, what can you say about the length of their school playground?

 GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 LENGTH measure #1 24.8m 25.2m 24.5m 25.1m 24.2m 25.2m 24.9m 24.845m ​ LENGTH measure #2 24.7m 24.7m 24.5m 26.6m 24.5m 25.4m 25.4m 25.103m
EDDIE SAYS
OK - with measurements ranging from 24.2m to 26.6m (what went wrong there?), the average length is 25m to the nearest whole metre.
• Question 10

If the class are going to measure out the solar system in their playground, which dimension would you recommend that Mrs. Bates's class use, based on their findings?

Length
EDDIE SAYS
Length = 25m, Width = 15m, Height = a long way, but not measured and only useful to the height of the tallest person. Length is the best bet for laying out a scale model of the solar system. It often uses students as planets at scale distances so you can get an idea of just how far away the outer planets are.
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