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News from Mathnasium of Hinsdale

Let's Talk about Temperature

Mar 2, 2021

We're in a middle of a heat wave! Thank goodness all this snow is finally melting. When you look at the weather forecasts, do you see temperatures with an F or a C? 

A Metric World

Most countries around the world use the metric system - they measure distance in meters, weight in kilograms, and temperature in degrees Celsius. In particular, 0*C (zero degrees Celsius) is the freezing point of water and 100*C is the boiling point of water. But here in the United States, we stick to feet, pounds, and degrees Fahrenheit. 

When comparing the freezing and boiling points of water, the Celsius values are easy to remember and easy to work with. However, when measuring in Fahrenheit, water freezes at 32*F and boils at 212*F - seems pretty random, right? But while it doesn't match well with water, the Fahrenheit system works well with something else: humans. Generally, 0*F means "too cold for humans" and 100*F means "too hot for humans." Of course, now we have winter coats and air conditioning, so we can survive more extreme weather.

What do you think? 

So, which system of measurement do you like better? Why? And can different communities mix-n-match which systems they use? Maybe in the future, you will be the one deciding which one is better!



ZME Science

Further Reading:

Fahrenheit Facts

How the Fahrenheit system was made