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Tools for Scientific Analysis: Tape Measures

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Tools for Scientific Analysis: Tape Measures

Physical Science

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You get to find out what it’s like to work in a real laboratory environment by first exploring an interactive, virtual lab. Learn the basics, from proper safety procedures to the equipment used in the physical sciences, all without any of the hazards or messes of an actual lab.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Demonstrate how to use metric tape measures during investigations and experiments.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What is a dynamometer?

~ A dynamometer is a scientific device used for a number of purposes, including determining the weight of an object.

How can you use a dynamometer to determine the weight of an object of unknown weight?

~ To find the weight of an object of unknown weight, you first need an object of known weight. Using that object, you need to form a ratio between the elongation produced by the object, and its weight. Next you form a ratio between the elongation produced by the object of unknown weight and its weight. The two ratios are equivalent, which allows the calculation of the unknown weight. To do this, you must first record the level of the spring before you attach the object to the dynamometer. Next, attach an object of known weight to the dynamometer and record the new level of the spring. Finally, use the tape measure to measure the distance between the spring's initial and final positions. This will reveal the elongation of the spring as a result of the object's weight. Repeat this for the object of unknown weight, and compare the ratios to determine the weight of the object.

If you have an object that weighs 10 g and elongates the spring 5 cm, and you have an object of unknown weight that elongates the spring 10 cm, what is the weight of the unknown object?

~ 5 cm elongation / 10 g weight = 10 cm elongation / "X" g weight

"X" = 20 g

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be able to define the following terms: dynamometers, metric tape measure, and weight.
Course Physical Science
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary dynamometers, metric tape measure, weight