We measure almost everything. Any time that we want to know how much, how big, how heavy, how strong, how clever … or to compare things, we seem to have created a scale for measuring them.
We measure (or attempt to measure) the strength of earthquakes, the pressure in our tyres, our bra/waist/shoe sizes, temperature, humidity, television and mobile phone signal strength, the brightness of stars, the mass of subatomic particles, the strength of magnets, human intelligence, the length of iron sheeting for roofing, the length of nails and pitch of screws, the amount of electricity and water that we use, the pitch of musical instruments, the skill level of gymnasts and divers … and the list goes on and on and on!
This is a wonderful adventure … learning how people throughout history have invented their own ways of measuring the things they value and the things that they want to control or manage.
Basically, measuring is the art of counting applied to quantities/things that are continuous. In every case, we must invent a scale and have a unit (or standard) against which we compare other things. I hope you enjoy learning about the history of measurement, the units that we use, about limits to our accuracy … and about money, angles, areas, speeds … and so many other things!
I had the privilege of being one of Graeme’s students in 2005. As a creatively minded individual I struggled greatly with Mathematics and was falling behind in my HSC studies. Under his careful and creative tutelage I began to truly understand Mathematics for the first time in my life. Graeme patiently taught me to master mathematical concepts in ways I could understand. In the week intensive I spent with him he taught me the entire HSC course, and I went on to receive a Band 6. I cannot recommend him highly enough.
Roxanne G (student, 2005)
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