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### Converting Units

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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
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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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Associated Topics:
Elementary Terms & Units of Measurement

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