A typical tape measure with both Metric
units and two US pennies for comparison
Four measuring devices having metric calibrations
A 2-metre carpenter's ruler
To measure something is to give a number to some property of the thing. Measuring something puts the amount of the thing into numbers. Measurement can be written using many different units.
What can be measured?
Many things can be measured. Some properties of things that can be measured:
- Distance: For example, distance measurements can be used to answer the following questions;
- How far is the city from here?
- How far apart are these two trees?
- How long is this stick?
- Weight: For example, weight measurements can be used to answer the following questions;
- What is more heavy, this group of apples or that group of bananas?
- Did John lose weight in the last year?
- Will putting this rock in the boat make the boat sink?
- Temperature: For example, temperature measurements can be used to answer the following questions;
- Is it hotter today in London or in Paris?
- Will this ice turn into water if I put it inside?
- Is Sally sick? Does Sally have a fever?
- Volume: For example, volume measurements can be used to answer the following questions;
- How many pails of water do I need to fill up the bath tub?
- How much olive oil do I put in this food I am making?
- How many blocks can I fit in this box?
- Pressure: For example, pressure measurements can be used to answer the following questions;
- How much air should I put in this automobile tire?
- Will the weather stay good or will we have a storm?
- Will my ears pop when I climb that hill?
One can measure many other things.
Units of measurement
Most properties are measured using a number and a unit of measurement. The unit of measurement is a standard amount. The number compares the property to that standard amount. This means a tree that is ten times as tall as a meter stick is 10 meters tall.
There is an advanced part of mathematics that is about measuring things with unusual characteristics. This is called measure theory.
Measurement can be the capacity, how long something is, or distance, etc.