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Measuring Different Types of Matter

By Kathy Foust

This guide can serve as a reference point for young learners who are developing measuring skills. Not only does this guide define measuring tools, but gives a brief overview on how to correctly use them!

Measuring Tools

Every form of matter has some way to measure it. This list of tips covers basic measuring processes and tools, since we won't be measuring stars or radio waves for some time yet! Review this list of measuring tools and tips to avoid using the incorrect tool or using the correct tool in the incorrect way!

  • Measuring Liquid. Measuring liquids that can be measured at home usually requires a liquid measuring cup or spoon. This is a cup that can be seen through and usually has a spout. The cup must be set on a level surface to obtain a correct measurement. The cup lists the measurement on the side (usually in the form of fractions). The measuring cup is filled until the liquid reaches the line that has the correct amount printed on it. In larger amounts, liquid is measured in units of gallons, cups, pints and quarts.Some people also use the metric systems of liters.
  • Measuring solid amounts of flexible or grained material. This is material that requires a container to hold it all together. For instance, paste is measured in dry measuring cup or spoon. For correct measurements, the material should be put in the proper sized container and a flat edge should be swept across the top to make sure that the amount is not over what it needs to be. For instance, if you are measuring flour, then you would put the flour on a level surface in a dry measuring cup or spoon, then take the back of the knife and wipe off the excess flour.
  • Measuring weight. Weight is measured by some type of scale. There are several varieties of scales. The scale needs to be either sitting or hanging level. Hang or sit the objects full weight on the scale. Virtually any material can be weighed.The standard unit is pounds or in some places, grams.
  • Measuring length. Technically, any measurement involving height, length or width is actually measuring length. This is always done using some type of tape measure that using either the system of inches and feet or one of meters.
  • Measuring temperature. Temperature is always measured using some type of thermometer that is immersed in whatever it is measuring. The thermometer on the wall is immersed in the air around it. The meat thermometer is immersed in the meat. Temperature is measured in units of degrees, whether they are Celsius, Fahrenheit or Kelvin.