How to Measure Long Distances   


     Measuring the length of a small object like a leaf is easy.  You could use a ruler.  What about a tall object like a tree.  Would a ruler work?  How about measuring the length of your biotic community.  Using a ruler would take far too long!  This activity will show you how to measure long distances the easy way.

Materials you need:  meter stick, string, one stick, ribbon

Procedure 1
Learning to use measured steps.  Follow these directions:

1.  Lay a meter stick on the ground.
2. While standing next to it, take a large step.  If possible, make the step as long as the meter stick.  If you can't make a step that long,  make your step 50 centimeters (half a meter) long.
3. After determining how long your step is, practice making steps the same length each time.
4. Take many steps in a row as practice.  You will need to be able to walk a long way making your steps the same length each time.
5. You can measure a long distance by counting your steps.  If each step is one meter, than that's how far you've walked.  If each step is half a meter, than divide the number of steps you've taken by 2 and that's the distance you walked.

Procedure 2
Making and using a measuring string.   Follow these directions:

1. Get a roll of string, a meter stick, and some ribbons.
2. Starting at the loose end, measure a one meter length on the string.
3. At this point, put a piece of ribbon around the string and tie it onto the string with a knot.  The ribbon represents one meter of length.

4. From this ribbon, measure out another one meter of length.
5. Once again, tie a piece of ribbon at this point.
6. Repeat this procedure over and over again until you have most of the string marked with ribbons.
7. These ribbons are one meter apart.  If you measure a distance with this string, you simply count the ribbons.  The number of ribbons is the number of meters.


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