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Measuring the World around us: Classic versus modern tools of measuring distances and heights (iStage 2)

Die Vermessung der Welt: Klassische versus digitale Methode zur Distanz- und Höhenmessung (iStage 2)

How tall is the skyscraper that rises up high above our heads, how high the mountain we are climbing at or the TV tower sending around signals in all directions?

The teaching unit ‘Measuring the world around us’ shows how distances and hights can easily be measured by means of simple reasoning and clever Smartphone-Apps when you are outdoors and do not have a ruler or measuring tape with you. Students become acquainted with the principle of parallax before they use special Apps to find out how far is the distance to a certain target. Afterwards they measure the temperature and the air pressure at the base and at the top of the target to find out about its height. On the earth or in space, using mathematical computation or physics formulas – with their Smartphone the students work out various methods of investigation to measure the world around them.

For this teaching unit the students should be at an age between 12 and 19 years, for certain knowledge in physics, maths and ICT are presumed.

The project is taken from the brochure ‘iStage 2: Smartphones in Science Teaching’ from the topic ‘hands’. The complete brochure can be ordered free of charge (Mail at or downloaded. It was developed by 20 teachers from 14 countries around Europe. The project was proudly supported by SAP.

Writers: Damjan Štrus (SLO) und Corina Toma (RUM) | Publisher: Science on Stage Deutschland | License: Creative Commons

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