Physics Activity - Measurement

Another Simple Measurement - Version 2


In this activity, you will measure the length of an object supplied by your teacher, then compare your results with the rest of the class. Ok, no funny stuff this time - everybody's ruler will be the same length - I promise!


an object to measure (supplied)

a four-sided meter stick (supplied)


  1. Write a brief description of this activity in your lab notebook.
  2. When it is your turn, measure the length of the object using each of the four sides of the meter stick. Start with the side marked "<---- 1m ---->", then the red-and-white side, then the side marked in centimeters only, and lastly, the standard meter stick side. Use an appropriate number of significant digits for each measurement. Record your measurements in a data table in your lab book.


  1. Your teacher will tell you when and how to report your measurement on the board.
  2. Record your classmates' measurements in your lab book.
  3. Calculate the mean (average) value for each of the four sets of measurements.
  4. Discuss the class' results with your classmates.


In your lab notebook, record the results of this activity, as well as any other results or conclusions reached by the class. Also, answer the following questions:

  1. How did the markings on the meter stick affect the precision of your results?
  2. How did the markings on the meter stick affect the accuracy of your results?
  3. What do you think would be the best way to report the results of each set of measurements, and why?

1based on "Activity 4a: Length Measurement with the Four-Sided Meter stick" in the Pasco Significant Figures Set (ME-9849)
last update August 20, 2007 by JL Stanbrough