By the end of this section, you will be able to:
There are two systems of measurement commonly used around the world. Most countries use the metric system. The U.S. uses a different system of measurement, usually called the U.S. system. We will look at the U.S. system first.
The U.S. system of measurement uses units of inch, foot, yard, and mile to measure length and pound and ton to measure weight. For capacity, the units used are cup, pint, quart, and gallons. Both the U.S. system and the metric system measure time in seconds, minutes, and hours.
The equivalencies of measurements are shown in Table 1.58. The table also shows, in parentheses, the common abbreviations for each measurement.
When we use the identity property of multiplication to convert units, we need to make sure the units we want to change from will divide out. Usually this means we want the conversion fraction to have those units in the denominator.
Sometimes, to convert from one unit to another, we may need to use several other units in between, so we will need to multiply several fractions.
Many measurements in the United States are made in metric units. Our soda may come in 2-liter bottles, our calcium may come in 500-mg capsules, and we may run a 5K race. To work easily in both systems, we need to be able to convert between the two systems.
Table 1.62 shows some of the most common conversions.
Figure 1.22 shows how inches and centimeters are related on a ruler.
Figure 1.22 This ruler shows inches and centimeters.
Figure 1.23 shows the ounce and milliliter markings on a measuring cup.
Figure 1.23 This measuring cup shows ounces and milliliters.
Figure 1.24 shows how pounds and kilograms marked on a bathroom scale.
Figure 1.24 This scale shows pounds and kilograms.
We make conversions between the systems just as we do within the systems—by multiplying by unit conversion factors.
Figure 1.25 The diagram shows normal body temperature, along with the freezing and boiling temperatures of water in degrees Fahrenheit and degrees Celsius.
ⓐ After completing the exercises, use this checklist to evaluate your mastery of the objectives of this section.
ⓑ Overall, after looking at the checklist, do you think you are well-prepared for the next Chapter? Why or why not?