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Study Guides > Math for Liberal Arts: Co-requisite Course

Why learn about measurement?

Photo of the Eiffel Tower in France at night with lights on and water being sprayed into the air not far from its base.   You’ve saved up for a trip to France with your French club.  You have arrived safely and are ready to begin your adventures.  There is just one problem—everything is described in terms of the metric system.  The temperature you check to decide what to wear, the height of the Eiffel Tower you want to visit, the distance you are planning to travel for sightseeing, and even the amount of gasoline you need to purchase for your rental car are all presented in metric units.  
  • What should you wear if the temperature is going to be 18°C?
  • If the Eiffel Tower is 300 meters tall, is it taller than the Empire State Building at 1,250 feet?
  • How long will it take you to drive from Paris to Bordeaux if it is 565 km from Paris?
  • How many liters of gasoline will you need to buy to fill a gas tank that holds 13 gallons?
Have no fear.  It may all seem very confusing, but it won’t be for long.  As you read about units of measurement in both U.S. customary units and metric units, it will all begin to make sense.  After completing the module, we will revisit these questions to help you better plan your European excursion.  

Learning Objectives

Units of Measurement
  • Define units of length, weight, and capacity and convert from one to another.
  • Perform arithmetic calculations on units of length, weight, and capacity.
  • Solve application problems involving units of length, weight, and capacity.
Systems and scales of measurement
  • Describe the general relationship between the U.S. customary units and metric units of length, weight/mass, and volume.
  • Define the metric prefixes and use them to perform basic conversions among metric units.
  • Solve application problems involving metric units of length, mass, and volume.
  • State the freezing and boiling points of water on the Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature scales.
  • Convert from one temperature scale to the other, using conversion formulas.

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