Date of this Version
This lesson is intended to provide motivation for the students to appreciate the use of an International System of Units.
The students are divided into small groups, around lab tables. The measuring instruments are provided to each group. Each group is treated as a different “country”. Each country is given a different set of measuring instruments: A ruler is a colored strip of paper marked off in ten divisions. Each country is given a different length for its ruler. A liquid volume measuring cup is a colored plastic cup marked off in ten divisions. Each country has a cup with a different volume. A pan balance with ten metal washers as the balancing units. Each country has a different size of washer for its mass unit. The name of a country was based on the color of its “ruler” and same color of its measuring cup.
Each country is given a supply of energy (symbolized by pieces of wire that will need to be measured in length), food (symbolized by pretzels that will need to be measured by mass) and water (which will need to be measured by volume) at the start. Each country has a different kind of pretzel. When setting up the countries at the start, before class starts, the instructor makes sure that the various countries have very different amounts of the natural resources.
Each country is required to trade with every one country at least once.