Date: 3/23/96 at 23:5:20 From: trumpler Subject: math question Dear Dr. Math, My name is Michelle Trumpler and I am in fourth grade. I wonder if there is a way of doing math without converting. For instance, in school, we have Mastery Math. I am on unit 19, which is number theory. On unit 18 (Metric Measurement), they have problems where you have to convert so they are the same kind of measurement. Then you do the problem. It's mostly decimals. Do you have to do that? Sincerely, Michelle Trumpler
Date: 3/30/96 at 5:9:21 From: Doctor Jodi Subject: Re: math question Hi Michelle! There are LOTS of sorts of math that don't deal with numbers. So in that sense, yes, you can do math without converting numbers. In fact, lots of the math that is done on numbers doesn't require conversions and decimals. But decimals can be pretty cool. Do you know about pi? Its decimals NEVER end and NEVER repeat. Wow! Aside from the utter coolness of (some) decimals, there's another reason you might want to know how to convert back and forth between two units.Here are two examples. You're baking a cake for your best friend's surprise party. But since you'll have less people than the recipe was designed for, you need to make only 3/4 the amount of cake. How do you figure out how much of each ingredient to add? Suppose I told you I was 703 tall. How tall is that, you'd say? Well, 7 cubits and 3 centiblobs, I'd say. Boy, would you be puzzled! These are pretty silly examples, but maybe you'll see what I mean. Write us back with more questions! You might also like this link on the WWW: http://www.c3.lanl.gov/mega-math That's the home page for MegaMath, a great site with LOTS of cool math. -Doctor Jodi, The Math Forum
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