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Measuring Instruments

Physical quantities are measured using different measuring instruments. The measuring instrument is different according to the physical quantity it measures. In this concept, the students will understand different instruments used for measurements.

After reading the concept, students will be able to:

  • Enlist which instruments are used for the measurement of length.
  • Demonstrate different instruments such as inch scale, measurement tape, pipette, etc.
  • Differentiate between weighing scale and common balance.
  • Answer how to measure the volume of liquid.
  • Explain the instruments required for temperature measurement.
  • Describe the use of an hourglass.

Each concept is explained to class 4 students using descriptions, illustrations, and concept maps. After you go through a concept, assess your learning by solving the two printable worksheets given at the end of the page.

Download the worksheets and check your answers with the worksheet solutions for the concept Measuring Instruments provided in PDF format.

  • We use different measuring instruments to measure various physical quantities.
  • Measuring things is an activity that we do quite often in our daily lives as it makes our life easier.
  • The instruments that we use for measurement may range from simple to complex.



Measurement of Length, Perimeter, and Area:

  • Length defines how long or tall something is.
  • Perimeter tells us the distance around an object or space.
  • The area is the amount of space that an object or shape covers.

Measuring Instruments Used:

We use the same tools while measuring an object’s length, perimeter, and area.

  • To get the perimeter and area of a particular shape, we need to measure the length of the sides first. To measure this, we can use the following tools—
    • Ruler (both inch ruler and centimetre ruler)
    • Metre stick
    • Measuring tape
  • We use inch and centimetre rulers for smaller objects. For larger objects, we can use meter sticks and measuring tapes.
  • Units such as inch, foot, and miles are used in the United States.
  • Metric units such as centimetres, metres, and kilometres are commonly used worldwide.



Measurement of Weight:

Weight indicates how heavy or light something is or how much mass is present in an object.

Measuring Instruments Used:

  • We generally use weighing scales to measure the weight of objects.
  • Scales come in different sizes; some can weigh light things, and some can weigh heavy things.
  • Many shopkeepers and vegetable and fruit sellers use a balance to weigh the goods in our country.
  • There are both analogue and digital weighing scales.
  • Weight can be measured in grams and kilograms.
  • In countries like the United States, ounces, pounds and tons are also used.



Measurement of Volume of Liquids:

When liquid is poured into a container, it takes up a specific space, which is its volume.

Measuring Instruments Used:

  • We measure the volume of liquids using a beaker and a measuring cylinder.
  • Beakers are marked with lines that help us tell the volume.
  • Cylinders, pipettes, and burettes are used for measuring smaller volumes of liquids.
  • Teaspoons and tablespoons are used to measure the volume of liquids used while cooking.
  • Volume can be measured in millilitres and litres.
  • In the United States, volume is also measured in gallons, pints, quarts, and cups.



Measurement of Time:

  • Time can be measured in terms of years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds.
  • We use calendars and watches to do this.
  • We use stopwatches to measure how long it takes to do something.
  • An hourglass or egg timer can be used to measure time.



Temperature Measurement:

Temperature tells us how cold or hot the weather, a place, or a thing/ object is, which means how much heat is present in an object.

Measuring Instruments Used:

  • We measure temperature by using a thermometer.
  • There are different thermometers like digital thermometers, oral thermometers, mercury thermometers, etc.
  • The units of measurement of temperature are Celsius (°C) and Fahrenheit (°F).



New Words:

Physical Quantity: A physical property of a material that can be measured.

Hourglass: : A device consisting of two glass bulbs containing sand connected. It takes one hour for the sand to pass from the upper to the lower bulb. It is a device used to measure time.

Did You Know?

  • A ship's speed is measured in knots, and one knot is equivalent to one nautical mile per hour.
  • A compass is a measuring tool that is used to measure cardinal directions for navigation and geographic orientation.
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