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Grade 5

Graphic communication

Module 4

Measuring systems

The development of measuring systems


Since the earliest times measuring was one of man’s most important activities, but in those days no accurate measuring-instruments existed. Parts of the human body were used as measuring-instruments and these later became the measuring-units. As technology developed, and people gradually became more civilised, measuring-instruments and measuring-units became more accurate.

What is measuring:

Measuring is the process of comparing that which we want to measure with the unit with which we measure.

The Romans standardised and safeguarded the Babylonian measuring-systems in ± 600 B.C., and these systems were used throughout the entire civilised world of that time.

The Roman measuring system:

1 foot = 16 fingers’ breadth = 12 inches

1 ½ foot = 1 ell

2 ½ foot = 1 step

5 foot = 1 double step

1 000 double steps = 1 mile

4 fingers’ breadth = 1 hand breadth

3 hands’ breadth = 1 span

2 span = 1 ell


[lo 3.2]

What problem was caused by the fact that people of an earlier civilisation used their limbs as measuring-instruments?

Measures and Weights

In Biblical times people used different measures and weights from those that are used today. Try to use their measures.

a) A finger’s breadth is the breadth of a finger.

b) A hand’s breadth is measured below the fingers.

c) A span is measured right across an outstretched hand.

d) An ell is the length from the elbow to the tips of the fingers.

ASSIGNMENT 2: [lo 3.1]

In old translations of the Bible we read that Goliath was six ell and a span. According to the scale one ell = two span, thus Goliath was __ span tall. Measure this out and then measure the length with a measuring-tape. How does his length compare with your own length?

(Copy and complete)

His length:

My length:


According to the new translations of the Bible Goliath was

__ m tall (see 1 Sam. 17:4).

Is there a marked difference?

If there is, give a reason for this difference.


[lo 3.2]

Something interesting: Noah’s ark was 300 ell long.

Measure the ell (from the point of the middle finger to the elbow) of three teachers at your school. Copy the table and complete:

Name of Teacher ELL in mm
Average ELL

Calculate the length of the ark in mm

At break time, measure it out on your playing field. According to Gen. 6:15 the ark was 135 m long.

Does your answer agree with that?

If not, why would it differ?


In 1834 the English kings made it their mission to develop a uniform measuring-system that could be used throughout the whole world, because each country in Europe had its own system. The metric system came into being as a result of the work of brilliant French scientists and mathematicians who developed a new decimal measuring-system in 1795. A fixed length was allocated to a specific unit and this resulted in the fact that from then on measurements were reliable. By the end of the 19 th century 22 countries were already using the metric system.

Certain measuring-instruments were designed and this made the job of measuring things much easier. Some of these instruments are the tape-measure, the precision measuring wheel, the metre-stick and the ruler.

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Technology grade 5. OpenStax CNX. Sep 23, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10979/1.2
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