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Measurement and Control: Activities Using Minimal Equipment

Price: £25.00
Age Range: KS3

Designed to help students fulfil NC KS3 requirements without 'hands-on' use of control technology. Some activities require access to a computer. Higher level work is also applicable to KS4.

Topics include: Digital and analogue measuring; Structured logo code; Sensors and feedback; Datalogging; How control technology aids cruise missiles and hinders bank robbers.

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Size: 61 Pages
ISBN: 978 1 86025 269 3
Code: MCAU
Popularity rank: 347

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Contents List



  • 7 A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH Introduces students to the idea of measurement and control, through the example of life support for premature babies.
  • 9 WHAT AND WHERE ARE SENSORS? Students learn what sensors are, and the types of place they may be found.
  • 11 ANALOGUE AND DIGITAL SENSORS Building on the work of the previous lesson, students learn the difference between analogue and digital sensors, and the types of signal that they output.
  • 13 CONVERTING SIGNALS This lesson explores how analogue information may be converted into digital signals, and the factors that govern the accuracy of this conversion.
  • 15 ENOUGH MEASURING This lesson stresses the importance of not becoming over-reliant on measurement at the expense of practical outcomes.
  • 17 ENOUGH RECORDING Students discover how often information needs to be recorded in order for a particular data set to make sense.
  • 19 REASONABLE DATA Students learn how to select relevant and helpful data from all the different measurements it would be possible to make in an experimental situation.
  • 21 THE END RESULTS Working from a real-life data set, students learn to present and calibrate their results in order to make maximum impact.
  • 23 DATALOGGING IN A FIELD Students discover how measurement may be used to protect the environment in this practical lesson.
  • 25 HUMAN v COMPUTER Students examine the differences and similarities between humans and computers, and decide who is better at what.
  • 27 THE BIOLOGY EXPERIMENT By making preparations for a particular Science Investigation, students are stimulated to consider what sensors and measurements they would require.
  • 29 THE PHYSICS EXPERIMENT Another Science Investigation scenario to plan for, but this time the sensors and measurements required are completely different.
  • 31 THE ELECTRICAL EXPERIMENT The third of three Science Investigation based lessons in which students plan how they would study discharges from a capacitor.
  • 33 AND NOW FOR THE WEATHER… A lesson in which students consider the types of data employed by weather forecasters, and how they are used.


  • 35 OUTPUT DEVICES Students investigate a number of output devices (actuators), the jobs they do, and the means by which they are instructed.
  • 37 ALGORITHMS The nature of algorithms is explored, with students developing several practical examples of their own.
  • 39 FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS This sheet explores the nature and necessity of instructions, and how these are manifested in computers as software programs.
  • 41 LOGO 1 The first of four sheets related to the popular Logo program, in which students look at simple instructions that can be used to create shapes.
  • 43 LOGO 2 Building on the work of the previous sheet, students learn how to add a more structure to their Logo programming.
  • 45 LOGO 3 The concepts of instructions and structure are expanded, as students produce an ever-more complex sequence that will generate shapes for them.
  • 47 LOGO 4 The final sheet on the Logo program sees students creating a complex programming sequence to mimic the operation of traffic lights.
  • 49 TRAFFIC LIGHTS Exploring the nature of the instructions used to control traffic lights leads students to the conclusion that complex systems are simple systems strung together.
  • 51 TAKE THE TRAIN Students add further complexity to a series of instructions by adding inputs (feedback) and making the system respond to them.
  • 53 CRUISE MISSILES Students explore the control processes involved in cruise missile navigation and targeting, and the moral questions raised by this use of technology.
  • 55 CHEMICAL PROCESS By looking at a real-life example of an industrial process, students consider what sensors would be required to protect the environment from possible ill effects.
  • 57 BANK ROBBERY A sheet in which students enumerate the sensors and control systems that could be used to protect a bank vault.
  • 59 FLY BY WIRE A real-life example of how modern aeroplanes are controlled leads to some interesting questions about the future direction of automated control.
  • 61 ROBOT RULES The final sheet draws together many aspects of the pack, as students consider the measurement and control elements required to make a functioning robot.