Make a Human Scale Ladder

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In this quick activity about size and scale (on page 2 of the PDF under What's Nano? Activity), each learner will be given an image of an object and communicate with other members of the group to arrange the objects they are holding in order of size (largest objects on one end and smallest on the other). Scale ladders help kids recognize the order of magnitude of some benchmark objects and correctly arrange them in order of size. This exercise also increases familiarity with the metric system, the universal language used by scientists, and some common prefixes such as "micro" and "nano." Also relates to linked video, DragonflyTV Nano: What's Nano?

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
free per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Game, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Nanotechnology
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
      • Perception
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
    • Number and Operations
      • Decimals
      • Exponents
      • Number Systems


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DragonflyTV


  • All rights reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., 2008

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 741749