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Measure the Width of Human Hair

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How do STEM professionals measure at nanoscale? With a laser, of course!

In this STEM lab, learn how to use a laser for measuring the tiniest things – like the width of a human hair! This hands on lesson brings STEM to light! Students will determine width of human hair using diffraction and a laser of known wavelength.

Grade Range:
9 to 14

1/2 Hour – 1 Hour


Red and green Laser Blox, tape, meter stick, blank wall, hair

NGSS Connections

PS4.B – Electromagnetic Radiation

  • Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding the relationships between the frequency, wavelength and speed of waves traveling in various media.

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Use mathematical representations of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations