HandsOn 1  "Walking" Along a Coastline
Table 2.1: Measuring the length of a coastline.
1. Size of step, S  2. PREDICTED  3. MEASURED  4. "Length'' = N×S 
Number of Steps, N  Number of Steps, N  
×××××  
To investigate coastlines, start by "walking'' along the map of a coastline as shown in Figure 2.1.
You will need:
2. Separate the points of the calipers by the scaled distance
of step 1B. Place the first end of the calipers at the beginning
of the coastline to be measured and swing your calipers so that
the second end rests on the coastline as close to the starting
point as possible. This is your first step along the coastline.
3. Now swing the caliper so that the first end "walks'' along
to the nearest next point on the coastline. This is your second
step.
4. Continue this process, counting the steps as you go; stop when
your next step would carry you beyond the end of the coastline.
The total number of steps multiplied by the distance covered in
each step gives an initial measurement of the length of your coastline.
For example: 10 steps, each of a length of 64 kilometers, yields
a total length of 10×64 kilometers = 640 kilometers.
5. Enter the size of the step (in miles, kilometers, or whatever)
in the left column of your copy of Table 2.1. Enter the number
of steps in the third column.
6. Now you are going to start again, this time reducing the distance
between the calipers to half its original value. Before you do
this, predict the number of steps it will take you to
walk along the coastline with this smaller step size. Enter your
prediction in the second column of your copy of the table.
7. "Walk'' along the coastline again with the calipers set
to half the original distance. Count the total number of steps
and record the results in the correct columns of your copy of
Table 2.1. How accurate was your predicted number of steps?
8. Repeat the process of cutting in half the distance between
the caliper points as many times as you can, each time making
a prediction, taking the walk, and filling in your copy of the
table with your results.
9. Fill in the righthand column of your copy of the table by
multiplying each step size by the number of steps to get a total
"length.''



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