Measurements to Make Life Easier

We measure things everyday. You have 2-liter bottles of soda. You have quarts of milk. You get a pound of turkey from the store. It all needs to be measured so you and businesses know how much you are getting. We could measure all of our food based on the size of an elephant or a bullfrog. That doesn't make a lot of sense. You can count elephants but if you used them as a unit of measure, it wouldn't be very accurate. Those inaccurate units are called nonstandard units of measurement. We don't really deal with them on NumberNut.

We're going to look at standard units of measure. There are two systems most of you use everyday. Some of you use the metric system only. In the United States we use both the metric system and the customary system. If you're a scientist you will only use the metric system.

Metric units: gram, liter, meter, second.
Customary units: ounce, gallon, mile, second.

Precision and Accuracy

When you measure things you want to be as precise as possible. If you are measuring your height you would not want to use a kilometer or a mile. You want to use the smallest units possible to have the greatest precision possible. We would probably use feet or meters to measure our height, but it would be more precise to use inches or centimeters.

The metric system was deigned with one thing in mind - 10s. Every measurement is based on a value of ten. It's great for science and efficiency, but the entire world still uses a mixture of customary and metric systems of measurement.

Meter = 1 m = 1*100 m
Kilometer = 1,000 m = 1*103 m
Millimeter = 1/1,000 m = .001 m = 1*10-3 m

1 Foot = 12 Inches
1 Yard = 3 Feet = 36 Inches
1 Mile = 1,760 Yards = 5,280 Feet = 63,360 Inches
It just gets worse.

Good news! Both systems use the same measurements for time. Time is a unit that was standardized a while back and it works for metric and customary unit systems.


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