General Measuring Instruments

A tape measure is commonly used to measure short distances.
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We use tools every day that measure things. We use them at home, at work, in class and for the car. A wide range of people use measuring instruments for an even wider range of things. When it comes to measuring things, your must first decide what it is you are measuring. The basic things we measure on a daily basis include capacity, mass, length, and time. Each group has its own devices that give us the measurement we need.


We use capacity to measure liquids. Some of the tools used every day to determine capacity include measuring cups and spoons for cooking, gallons of gas for the car, and packaging at the grocery store. The units of measurement for capacity start at the eighth of a teaspoon and go up to the gallon. Liquid can also be measured in ounces, sometimes referred to as fluid ounces or seen as "fl. oz." on packaging. The most popular tool used to measure capacity is the measuring cup.


Measuring mass means finding the weight of an object. We use this value daily to find our weight or the weight of a child at the doctor's office, the weight of produce at the grocery store and for portion control for those on a diet. We measure mass in ounces, pounds and tons. Mass can also be calculated by displacement. Displacement does not determine the weight of an object, but it measures the size. The most popular tool used to measure mass is the scale.


We measure length in increments of millimeters, centimeters, inches, feet, yards and miles. Some reasons we measure distance on a daily basis are for gas mileage, building and even decorating our homes. Without any measurement of distance, we would not know how far it is to the store, how large to build our houses or if the TV will fit in the cabinet. The most popular tool to measure distance is the tape measure or ruler.


There is never enough time in the day. As a culture, we are obsessed with time. There is a time for school or work, dinner time, nap time and bedtime. We measure time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades and centuries. Things we use to measure time include stopwatches, calendars, hourglasses and clocks. The most popular tool for measuring time is the clock.

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