Sep

09

2011

As a physical science teacher, one of my jobs is to teach my students how to measure like scientists. This includes, but of course is not limited to, distance with a ruler and mass with a balance. That is why I like to do a lab with the density blocks very early in the year. You use the rule to measure the length, width, and height of the blocks (in this case they're cubes, but hopefully sometime the Resource House will get some non-cube blocks) to calculate volume. They get practice using the triple beam balance finding mass. Finally they get to calculate density and put the blocks in order by density. A fun and engaging way to learn about the importance of measurement. Oh yeah, it's totally free too (thanks Resource House).

A new book, *The General Rule, A Guide to Customary Weights* by Vivian Linacre examines the origin of the English system of measurement – the inch, foot, yard, mile, etc. By examining ancient stone monuments such as Stonehenge, she finds our modern measurements date back thousands of years, and that prehistoric Britons understood advanced mathematical concepts such as the Fibonacci series and the golden ratio.

Tags : math and measurement

Dec

31

2005

A popular song from the musical RENT says there are 525,600 minutes in a year. That answer is right for most calendar years (including 2005 and 2006). A leap year (with February 29 tacked on) has 527,040 minutes. But the time it actually takes the Earth to travel once around the Sun is about 525,948.76 minutes. (That translates to 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds.)

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