Discover more Measure Island

Exhibit descriptions

Can you swap a ‘diamond’ sitting on a pressure sensor with a bag of sand, so you don’t wake the statue? The diamond is resting on a sensor that measures pressure. Sensors use measurements to detect changes in a system.
Themes: Pressure, sensors, force
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement.

Hit the target and check the speed of your throw. Throw a ball at a target, so a radar gun in the middle can measure your throwing speed. How does the radar gun detect and calculate the speed of your thrown ball? Radar guns measure the speed of a travelling ball in kilometres per hour.
Themes: Speed, doppler, radar, ball throwing
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement.

Stressed Out BridgeStressed Out Bridge
What do you see when you walk across the bridge? As you walk across the bridge, stress points form on the bridge. Amounts of stress within a structure can be observed and measured using polarised light and filters.
Themes: Polarised, stress, colour
Curriculum links: Physics – forces & motion, optics (visible light)

Archimedes Challenge
Why does the crown and ‘gold’ bar appear to be equally balanced in mid-air, but unbalanced underwater? Lower a balance containing a crown and ‘gold’ bar into water and check whether they are unbalanced. Explore the amount of water displaced and calculate the item’s density and possible financial value.
Themes: Density, buoyancy, balance, mass and volume.
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement.

Balance Platform
Work together to balance the large platform. Watch the way the bubble in the floor moves as the platform tilts. Does the bubble move towards the lower end or the higher end? Check your results against the giant spirit level bubble in the middle of the platform.
Themes: Balance, density, buoyancy
Curriculum links: Physics – air pressures & fluid mechanics, forces & motion, Mathematics – measurement.

Hidden Treasure
Can you make a diamond disappear? Dip two ‘diamonds’ into a liquid and watch what happens. Are these two acrylic ‘gems’ made from the same material. How does light behave inside the gems and inside the liquid to create this effect? A material’s refractive index can be used to identify its composition.
Themes: Refractive index, light, materials, forensic
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement

There’s an Area in There
Which rabbit takes up less area? Fit the tangram puzzle shapes together to work out which rabbit uses fewer puzzle pieces and takes up less area. The area of an irregular shape can be calculated by measuring its component shapes (adding up the areas of the simpler shapes that make it up). 
Themes: Area, tangram, puzzle, polygons, geometry
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement (size), geometry and topology.

Thermal Mosaic
Which material feels warmer to touch? Touch different materials then use an infrared thermometer to check whether a material’s temperature indicates how warm it feels. Our skin feels heat and coolness, but it is not a reliable gauge of temperature.
Themes: Temperature, heat, emissivity, infra-red, thermometer, thermal
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement, Physics – thermodynamics (heat)

Go with the Throw
Throw quoits at a target and work out whether you were accurate, precise, or both. Don’t be confused about these separate measurement concepts.
Themes: Accuracy, game precision, repetition
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement

Monkeys in the Mist
Can you find the monkeys hidden in the misty jungle? Touch the screen to select each monkey. Check how well you can detect grey shades overlaid onto darker or lighter backgrounds.
Themes: Vision, contrast, contrast sensitivity.
Curriculum links: Biology – human psychology & behaviour, human body (physiology), Physics – optics (visible light)

Order in the Court
Can you sort and classify the statues? Choose to sort by height, width, happiness or cuteness. Things can be classified in a number of ways, depending on their qualities and your categories of organisation.
Themes: Sorting, ordering, objective and subjective classification
Curriculum links: Mathematics - measurement

Pendulum Pace
Swing two pendulums from different heights and estimate which pendulum will reach the centre first. Compare how many times the pendulum swings past the centre point in 10 seconds? Pendulums are used to keep time in certain clocks, based on their properties of length and patterns of swing.
Themes: Pendulums, oscillators, centre of mass, time
Curriculum links: Physics – forces & motion (inertia, gravity, push, pull, acceleration), Mathematics – measurement (time, mass, size).

Read my Mind
Grab the handles and watch your heart beat. See if thinking about something scary or calming can change it. Now look at the photos we show you and see which makes your heart go fastest! Biological measurements can be indicators of mood or arousal. Fear can be measured as a physiological response.
Themes: Biometrology, heart rate, fear response, adrenalin
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement.

Barrel of Beasts
How many balls are in the barrel? Capture and count balls in a barrel to model estimation of animal populations. Can you work out a reasonably accurate estimation of total population?
Themes: Estimating, sampling, ratio
Curriculum links: Mathematics – statistics, probability and chance, Biology – ecology.

Can you match the ring patterns on these tree pieces to each other? Assemble a tree calendar by matching ring patterns on tree samples to work out the age of a statue. Which part of the statue is older?
Themes: Dendrochronology (tree ring dating), timelines, botany, climate change.
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement, Biology – plants, Earth Science – atmosphere & meteorology (weather).

Dividing Time
Compare a standard (12 hour) clock with a decimal clock (10 hours) and try to assess the time of day using each clock. Can you work out how long a school day would last in decimal time? What decimal time would you have dinner? 
Themes: Time, decimal, counting systems
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement

You’re So Vane
Construct a wind vane by attaching different animal shapes to a bird that is surrounded by air blowers. How do the relative areas of the head and tail affect how a wind vane works? Wind direction is measured in the direction the wind is coming from.
Themes: Wind, area, direction, vane, weather
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement

What a Croc!
How do you measure a crocodile? Measure the length of a crocodile along its back and along its side, to get two different measurements! It’s important to define exactly what is being measured, in order for accurate measurements to be taken.
Themes: Fractals, trundle wheel, length, centimetres, metres
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement (size), geometry and topology.

High Horse
Measure the height of a horse using your own hands and a pair of model hands. Do you get the same result? What other units of measurement have been used to measure things in the past?
Themes: Units, standards, biological measures
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement

Worth the Wait
Can you accurately predict 15 seconds? Try to hold the button down for exactly 15 seconds. You can get better with practise, but can you get it correct to the nearest millisecond? Your ‘sense of time’ may be accurate or wildly inaccurate!
Themes: Time, estimating, guess, prediction, milliseconds, accuracy
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement (size), Biology – human psychology & behaviour

Challenge Board
Read the challenging questions and then find the answers using coordinates. Can you solve these measurement problems?
Themes: Puzzle, logic
Curriculum links: Mathematics

Tall Tails
How many monkeys high are you? Young children can measure their height against a ruler, or a stack of monkeys and other animals. Height can be measured in some rather strange units.
Themes: Units, regular, irregular, standard
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement 

Early Childhood exhibit

How big is my Fish?
Measure the toy fish in a number of ways. Compare the different fish on a ruler and a set of weighing scales.
Themes: Balance, mass, length, estimate
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement

Early Childhood exhibit

National Measurement Institute Kiosk
This multimedia kiosk contains information about research at The National Measurement Institute (NMI) and careers based on measurement for government and industry.
Themes: scientists, careers, research, NMI, measuring tools
Curriculum links: Mathematics – measurement, Scientists & Inventors, Science careers

Some exhibits may not be available every day.

Measure Island. Developed by Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, Canberra.