IED Unit 3
Statistics & Measurement
Statistics & Measurement Introduction
Welcome to Unit 3

Engineers need to be able to design, measure, and build things that are very exact.  In this unit, we’ll look at different kinds of measurements and units. We’ll also look at the precision, accuracy, and variability of measurements using statistics! The main topics of the unit are:

  • Units & Unit Conversion
  • Measurement Tools
  • Dimensioning
  • Statistics
  • Microsoft Excel

The skills we develop in this unit will be useful as we continue to design and build our own prototypes and solutions to different problems. The work in this unit will require some careful attention to the math of engineering as we complete three main parts:

  1. STEP 1: Collect a variety of measurements in different units to see how they compare and to get used to different measurement tools.  Then work to practice converting units mathematically.
  2. STEP 2: Work with your team to complete an instant design challenge, collect data on your success, and investigate the variability in your data with statistics!
  3. STEP 3: Design, measure, and build a puzzle cube that meets precise parameters!

When you’re done, you will have gotten practice with the mathematics of measurement and variability, and then also demonstrated those skills as you build a puzzle.

Part 1: Measurement & Units

Conversion Reference

It’s important that engineers be able to describe what they are trying to build.  Part of that is having a clear picture or diagram, and along with that is the importance of using the right units.  When we measure distances we have a choice between inches, feet, centimeters, or meters. We have similar choices when we measure weights, volumes, and other forces.  In this first part, you will do some simply measuring, practice the math needed to convert between different kinds of units, and become familiar with the use of calipers to measure precisely.


 Watch the video on measurement and units, and take a full page of careful notes in your engineering notebook

 Complete the measurements activity for SI and US units

 Complete the Unit Conversion assignment

 Use a caliper to carefully measure and dimension a multiview drawing of some Automoblox pieces

 Have Mr. Benshoof approve your assignments and drawings

Measurement & Units

Unit Conversion

Calipers & Dimensioning

Part 2: Statistics & Variability

Conversion Reference

Nothing we make is ever perfect.  The job of an engineer is to understand how their solution is imperfect, and to be able to describe both the size of those imperfections as well as the impact of them.  As we continue our work in measurement we need to be able to quantify variability – the inconsistency – in our work. In this part of the unit, we will collect some data on manufactured objects as well as our own creations and then use that to explore mean, median, and standard deviation.


 Start by taking careful notes on “Statistics Calculations” and “What is variability?” in your engineering notebook

 Collect your linear dimensions measurements and complete the activity in Excel

 Complete the Variability Statistics assignment

 With a partner, complete the “Fling Machine” instant design challenge, collect your data, and analyze your data in Excel

Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your completed data collection and statistics work

 Take the Unit 3 Quiz before October 11!

Statistics Calculations

What is Variability?

Statistics with Excel

Part 3: Puzzle Cube

Puzzle Cube Overview

The final part of our unit in measurement and statistics involves the design and creation of a small logic puzzle.  The puzzle cube is made of 27 small wooden cubes that are glued together to form puzzle pieces. When assembled correctly, the pieces make a perfect 3x3x3 cube.  Your job is to design the shape of your puzzle pieces, find blocks that fit the necessary parameters, and assemble your toy. You’ll then collect data on how long it takes people to solve your puzzle so that you can analyze the difficulty of the puzzle.


 Take a page of notes on the Puzzle Cube Overview in your engineering notebook.  Clarify the challenge, the criteria, and the constraints!

 Plan out your 5 puzzle pieces and sketch them in your notebook

 Find 27 cubes that fit the necessary parameters and assemble your puzzle cube

 Have 10 students try to solve your puzzle cube and time them.  Record their time in your notebook and use Excel to analyze the statistics

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your puzzle cube

 If you have time, decorate your puzzle cube and make a box for it