User login

Height Sight

Source Institutions

    The Exploratorium

Add to listGo to activity
Height Sight

In this activity, learners build a tool called an inclinometer that can find the height of any distant object, from a tree to the North Star. Measure the angle of an object with the inclinometer, then use the included Height Calculator Grid to find the height of the object. Includes step-by-step instructions, a print out protractor & Height Calculator Grid, an explanation of the science behind the activity, and suggested activity extensions.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Inclinometer Protractor template
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • 3 x 5 index card
  • Hole punch
  • 20 inches (50 cm) string
  • Washer or other small weight that can be tied with string, such as a ring magnet or binder clip
  • Sheet of 8.5 x 11 (A4) paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Height Calculator Grid
  • Ruler
  • Optional: partner​


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access