This is a reading comprehension exercise for children. It is written by Susan Fineman, a reading specialist in the New Haven, Conn., school district.
The Washington Monument is a bit taller than previously thought.
A team of government geodesists used satellites recently to take the monument's most accurate measure ever. Their preliminary result was 555 feet, 5.9 inches. Geodesy is the science of measuring the Earth.
Previously, the height of the monument was reported as 555 feet, 5.5 inches. It was last measured 65 years ago by government surveyors.
Scaffolding erected for a renovation of the monument gave the team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) access to the top of the giant stone pillar.
The team from NOAA's National Geodetic Survey took several measurements during their visit to the apex and will report final, detailed figures, NOAA officials said.
"Engineers will also use this information to monitor the monument's stability, measuring any shifting, settling, or other movement of the structure," NOAA Administrator D. James Baker said.
Baker said the same methods used in the project can be used for navigation and transportation and communications systems.
The geodesists used state-of-the-art Global Positioning System receivers and other specialized gear to take hundreds of measurements at the top of the monument and at several other nearby Washington landmarks.
The last official geodetic measurements from the top of the Washington Monument were made in 1934 by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, the National Geodetic Survey's predecessor agency. At that time, manual observations were made with instruments such as theodolites, spirit levels and leveling rods.
Such precise measurements are part of the Geodetic Survey's National Spatial Reference System, which is the foundation for all types of surveys and allows government, industry and researchers to measure the position of objects in three-dimensional space.
True or False?
1. Geodesy is the science of measuring the Earth.
2. With the help of satellites, a team of government geodesists measured the height of the Washington Monument.
3. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) decided to rebuild the famous landmark.
4. Using scaffolding put up for repair of the monument, the NOAA team was able to reach the apex (top) of the structure.
5. Geodesists found that the historic column is four inches taller than previously thought.
6. Sixty-five years ago, government surveyors reported that the height of the stone pillar was almost 5,556 feet.
7. In 1934, measurements from the top of the Washington Monument were made with theodolites and leveling rods.
8. NOAA's National Geodetic Survey team measured the white marble obelisk hundreds of times.
9. State-of-the-art gear enabled scientists to paint perfect pictures of the Washington landmark.
10. By moving the monument, engineers can tell whether the memorial is stable (secure).
Bonus: It is now possible for scientist to use satellites to accurately measure the position of objects on Earth.
Answer Key: 1. True, 2. True, 3. False, 4. True, 5. False, 6. False, 7. True, 8. True, 9. False, 10. False, Bonus: True