AP Physics
Measuring Common Objects
PURPOSE:
The purpose of this lab activity is to practice:
 using a meter stick, a vernier caliper, and a micrometer
 recording measurements and estimating their uncertainty
 calculating the uncertainty of a result when using
measurements in a calculation.
 calculating using significant digits.
 choosing an appropriate measuring device.
EQUIPMENT:
meter stick

metric ruler

vernier caliper

micrometer caliper

wood block

metal cylinder

PROCEDURE:
There are four parts to this lab. For each section, your lab book
should contain:
 a brief discussion of your procedure, which should identify
what measuring instruments you used.
 all data clearly recorded (use a data table) along with
estimates of uncertainty for each measurement.
 a sample calculation for each part, with a sample calculation
of the propagation of error.
Here's what you do:
 Determine the volume of a block of wood.
 Find the volume of a metal cylinder.
 Find the thickness of a page of paper in your text book. Think
about this. How can you get the most accurate measurement?
 Determine the volume of your classroom.
adapted from J.L. Doyle, "Measurement Lab" (Newark High
School, Newark, OH). Permission granted by the author.
last update August 14, 2007 by JL
Stanbrough