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Q&A #286

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Teaching conversion of units of measurement

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From: Anne McMullan <mcmullan@mb.sympatico.ca>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2001032811:23:50
Subject: metric conversion

	
Many years ago, an excellent math teacher saw me struggling to teach
metric conversion in an adult upgrading class. He taught me this silly
sentence to teach the order of metric prefixes. Start with length so
that "make" fits "meter", then teach students to change the "make" to
"gram" for mass and "liter" for volume. Students can learn to convert
in an hour using this chart. You can then "go back" to teach the math
which is involved". For example, when we move to the left, we are
dividing; when we move to the right, we are multiplying.

Kind hearted damsels make daring chess moves. 
km    hm       dam    m    dm     cm   mm

1000   100     10     1    1/10   1/100  1/1000
1000   100     10     1    0.1     0.01   0.001

Convert any metric unit by placing it under the appropriate column and
"jumping" to the column of the unit you wish to convert to.
Multiply by moving to the right:
  so         6.33 dam      =     6330 cm because I had to move the
decimal 3 places to the right. 

40 km               =40000 m because I had to move the decimal 3
places to the right
Divide by moving to the left:
                                           16.50 mm equals
                       0.01650 m because I moved 3 places to the left.

I have searched the internet in vain to find a similar device. I would
appreciate any further teaching on the conversion of metric
units..especially as applied to calculation of drug dosages.

          

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