University of Virginia
Physics Department

## Indirect Measurement

A Physical Science Activity

### Student Activity

Materials

• Several shoe boxes (or other unbreakable and sealable containers) with tops; write the mass in grams of the box and its top on the outside of the box
• Familiar and unbreakable objects such as pencils, pens, paper clips, rubber bands, etc.
• Tape
• Balance
• 8 ½ x 11 inch paper (one sheet per student)

Procedure

1. Get a labeled box from your teacher.
2. Conduct the tests as outlined on the "Student Data Sheet". Write careful and detailed observations in the space provided so you have an accurate record of the experiment. Think of additional tests to conduct. Space for student developed tests is included on the "Student Data Sheet".
3. Decide what you think the boxed object is. Space for their conclusion is provided on the "Student Data Sheet".
4. Ask your teacher to reveal the contents of your box.

Data Sheet

Student Data Table

Box number: ______________

 Experiment Observation 1. Mass of the sealed box with the unknown object 2. Mass of an empty shoe box 3. Mass of the object (#1-#2) 4. The unknown object moves lengthwise within the box. 5. The unknown object moves crosswise within the box. 6. The unknown object moves up and down within the box. 7. The unknown object rolls within the box. 8. The unknown object collides with other objects in the box. 9. The unknown object is much smaller than the box. 10. The unknown object is almost as big as the box. 11. 12.

Questions

1. From your data, what do you think the object in the box is? Explain in the space below why you think this.

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2. With your teacher's permission, you may open the box to look at the object. Was your conclusion in question 1 correct? If your conclusion was correct, explain which test or tests best allowed you to identify the object. If your conclusion was not correct, explain which test or tests made you conclude as you did.

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