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Judging Fahrenheit and Celsius Temperatures

Date: 03/31/2004 at 22:56:22
From: Kenya
Subject: I just don't get anything about TEMPERATURE

Dear Doctor Math,

Temperature is so confusing!  I'm doing temperature in class but I
don't get it.  I have a hard time judging if a temperature would be
hot or cold.  For example, here's a question from our math text book:
You decide to wear a jacket outside.  What is the temperature most
likely to be?

A: 23C        B: 54F        C: 98F        D: 98C

I would choose D, but a lot of times I get it wrong.  I am not just in 
fourth grade, But in 4th APPAS, a special class for smart kids.  I'm 
afraid of being dropped down to the lowest section in my grade.

Date: 04/01/2004 at 08:37:49
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: I just don't get anything about TEMPERATURE

Hi, Kenya.

It's a little confusing that they include both Fahrenheit and Celsius 
temperatures in the problem; it's better to learn one system at a 
time.  But you can look at each answer separately and think about 
whether it makes sense.

You need to have some knowledge of typical temperatures, so you can 
compare.  For example, in Fahrenheit

    0 = very cold winter weather
   32 = water freezes
   68 = comfortable room temperature
  100 = hot outdoor weather
  212 = water boils

Look at where 54F and 98F fit on this chart, and decide whether you 
would want to wear a jacket if you were outside in that temperature.

Now do the same with the Celsius temperatures and this chart:

    0 = water freezes
   20 = comfortable room temperature
   40 = hot outdoor weather
  100 = water boils

Can you see which answer makes sense now?  Combining your intelligence 
and a little knowledge of facts (which smart people need to learn 
just as much as the rest of us), you should do fine.

If you have any further questions, feel free to write back.

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum 
Associated Topics:
Elementary Temperature

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