Lesson 4: Scales and Sizes of Objects


Purpose of Lesson:

  • Build students' knowledge of the wide range of size and different scales present in the natural world.
  • To familiarize students with the comparative and absolute sizes of objects that span the range of sizes from the macro scale to the atomic scale.
  • To establish a rationale for the use of different scientific models to explain behavior at different scales.

Synopsis of Lesson:

The lesson begins with a look at an unidentified object at a scale of 1/1000. What is this object? Students view the object at other scales, 1/100, 1/10, and see that it is the skin on a man's hand. Students use the "Universcale" interactive (
http://www.nikon.com/about/feelnikon/universcale/index.htm) to explore objects at a wide range of sizes. Nanoscientists need to be able to know and compare the relative sizes of objects. Unitizing skills are developed as students make comparisons of objects sizes by dividing numbers that are in scientific notation. Objects of interest are selected and a chart is created detailing the size of the object and information about the object. A combined chart for the class is created as a closing activity. To extend the lesson, students revisit the preassessment card sorting activity to reinforce what they learn in this lesson.

Concept Map:


scale ranges.jpg
Each range is 1000 times larger than the next smaller range.

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Website by Lori Andersen, 2012