Measuring tape is a staple of any toolbox. It’s got the obvious, practical use of being great for measuring things, but it also has surprising uses in a wide variety of activities.
For example, take Pitsco Education’s Toolbox Racer. The Toolbox Racer uses the potential energy found in the spring of the measuring tape to power a small race car. All you need is measuring tape and a Toolbox Racer Kit, and you can have a fun racing activity that's easily used in any hallway at home or at school. Add some mass to the car while testing it, and you can determine the velocity of the vehicle.
Another great activity that can be accomplished with a measuring tape is using it to measure impossible heights.
What you need is a measuring tape, notebook, calculator, and pen. By using these items, your shadow, and the concept of proportion, you can determine the height of objects much larger than yourself. The activity involves measuring the height of your shadow, measuring your height, and using those numbers to attain the proportion. From that point you can begin determining the height of objects such as a flagpole, tree, basketball hoop, and more.
One of the cleverest ways students have been using measuring tape recently is in the 2015-2016 FIRST®
Tech Challenge. This year’s game, called Res-QSM
, requires robots to climb a simulated mountain. Students have been using measuring tape to create a winch system that enables their robots to easily climb up the side of obstacles and complete the challenge. Here’s a video
explaining the design of the measuring tape winch and a video
of a robot using it during competition.
As you can see, even a plain old measuring tape can be used in tons of different creative activities. The only real design limit is your imagination. Do you have any activities or ideas for using measuring tape? Make sure to sound off in the comments and let us know!