Converting 0 Fahrenheit to Celsius: Steps & Tutorial

Instructor: Thomas Higginbotham

Tom has taught math / science at secondary & post-secondary, and a K-12 school administrator. He has a B.S. in Biology and a PhD in Curriculum & Instruction.

Different areas of the world use different temperature scales, and it can be helpful to know how to make temperature conversions. In this lesson, learn about the foundations of the two temperature scales and how to convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius.

Steps to Solving the Problem

There's something about being in temperatures 'below zero' (Fahrenheit) that makes us feel like stalwart survivors of a bleak and barren tundra. Below zero makes it OK to complain about the weather. In Canada, temperatures are reported in Celsius. Zero degrees Celsius is equal to 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so 'below zero' there is no big deal. But when we visit Canada, we need to know when it's OK to complain about the weather, right? Converting from Fahrenheit to Celsius is what this lesson is all about.

Temperature Benchmarks

In the Fahrenheit scale, water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 degrees (note there is a difference between those two quantities of 180). The Celsius scale was actually built based upon water's freezing and boiling points (zero and 100 degrees, respectively).

Here is one of the major differences between Celsius and Fahrenheit scales, and one that can make the conversion from one to the other easier to remember. If we look at the number of degrees between water's freezing and boiling points, we see that there are 180 degrees in Fahrenheit, but only 100 degrees in Celsius. Consequently, one degree Celsius equals 1.8 (or 9/5) degrees Fahrenheit.

It is also critical to remember that there is a 32 Fahrenheit degree difference between the two systems' freezing points of water (zero degrees Celsius vs. 32 degrees Fahrenheit).

Converting from Fahrenheit to Celsius

Keep in mind, temperature is simply a measure of the average kinetic energy of the molecules in a substance. To convert the temperature from a Fahrenheit to a Celsius scale, we need to use the following formula:

C = (F - 32) * (5 / 9)

Where:

C = Degrees Celsius

F = Degrees Fahrenheit

Steps for converting are below:

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