Unit Planner: Measurement and uncertainties

Unit 1: Measurement and uncertainties

Start date:

End date:

Diploma assessment

When will the content be assessed?

Paper 1 X
Paper 2 X
Paper 3 X
Investigation X

Text book reference

Hamper p 3 - 24

Inquiry: Establishing the purpose of the unit

Transfer Goals
List here one to three big, overarching, long-term goals for this unit. Transfer goals are the major goals that ask students to “transfer”, or apply, their knowledge, skills, and concepts at the end of the unit under new/different circumstances, and on their own without scaffolding from the teacher.

  • How to define a scale
  • Uncertainties in measurement.
  • Know the meaning of m and c in y = mx + c
  • Use a variety of measuring devices

List here the key content that students will know by the end of the unit

  • Introduce the realm of physics and use of models
  • Define and put into context position and time
  • How to define a scale
  • What is a fixed point
  • Measurement of length and mass
  • Volume and density, derived units
  • Fundamental quantities
  • Introduce the concept of uncertainties in measurement.
  • Distinguish between random and systematic error.
  • Learn how to deal with absolute and percentage errors.
  • How to estimate measurement error.
  • Understand the difference between precision and accuracy.
  • Be able to interpret results from a linear graph.
  • Know the meaning of m and c in y = mx + c

List here the key skills that students will develop by the end of the unit.

  • Use of ruler, vernier and balance
  • Use of Excel to manipulate data
  • Use of LoggerPro to plot straight lines and curves

List here the key concepts that students will understand by the end of the unit.

  • Uncertainties in measurement
  • Scales are based on constant quantities
  • Zeros can be relative or absolute

Examples of real world practical applications of knowledge.

  • Any sort of measurement
  • Graphing
  • Engineers often quote tolerances when making components. How closely a peg fits a hole for example. Tolerances are like uncertainties.

Action: teaching and learning through Inquiry

Approaches to teaching
Tick boxes to indicate pedagogical approaches used.

Lecture x
Small group work (pairs) x
Hands on practical x
Video x

Examples of how TOK can be introduced in this unit

  • What is the meaning of Time, if nothing ever changed would there be time.
  • Is there an absolute zero of position?
  • What zero do we use in the measurement of time?
  • How do we know that the length of a meter rod is constant?
  • Why is the speed of light so important?

Examples of how NOS can be introduced in this unit.

  • Observation, the first steps in the scientific method.
  • How we use quantities to model the universe.
  • The whole thing about trying to make some sense of the observable universe.
  • Using our senses to make observations
  • When we look at the results from an experiment we often identify outliers, these should not be ignored as they might lead to advancements in theory. It would also be unethical to simply ignore points that don't fit our expectations.

Tests, exams and marked labs

Measurement test

Units problems
Uncertainties test

Video clips, simulations demonstrations etc.




What went well
List the portions of the unit (content, assessment, planning) that were successful

What didn’t work well
List the portions of the unit (content, assessment, planning) that were not as successful as hoped

List any notes, suggestions, or considerations for the future teaching of this unit

All materials on this website are for the exclusive use of teachers and students at subscribing schools for the period of their subscription. Any unauthorised copying or posting of materials on other websites is an infringement of our copyright and could result in your account being blocked and legal action being taken against you.