How to Convert Standard Units of Measure

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  • 0:02 Metric vs. U.S. Standard Units
  • 1:14 From Pounds to…
  • 2:58 From Fahrenheit to…
  • 5:06 From Miles to…
  • 6:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

The United States uses pounds, miles and Fahrenheit for measurements, but the rest of the world uses the metric system. This video lesson will help you to convert from one to the other easily, so you can understand kilometers and kilograms, too.

Metric vs. U.S. Standard Units

In the United States, we use the U.S. Standard Units for measuring things, like distance, weight and temperature. We use measurements, such as miles, pounds and degrees Fahrenheit. But the rest of the world, for the most part, uses the metric system of measuring things. This system uses measurements, such as kilometers, kilograms and degrees Celsius.

You can see these measurements in use whenever you are on the road. If you are traveling anywhere in the United States, you will see the speed limit signs posted everywhere that tell you the speed limit in miles per hour. If you travel outside the United States, these signs will show the speed limit in kilometers per hour. Look inside any car and you will notice that the speedometer shows both miles and kilometers. You can see that they are related to each other.

Scales show you that your kilograms and pounds are related. Thermometers likewise show you that your degrees Fahrenheit and degrees Celsius are related. Because they are related, we are able to convert easily from one to the other. This is the purpose of this video lesson. We are going to learn how to convert from one to the other system of measurement and back again with ease. So, get your thinking cap on and let's go.

From Pounds to Kilograms and Back

We begin with converting between pounds and kilograms, our measurement for weight. Get on a scale in the United States and you will most likely see your weight in pounds. Get on a scale outside the United States and you are most likely to see your weight in kilograms. Don't worry; we're not concerned about your weight here. All we are going to do here is learn how we can convert from one to the other.

It's actually quite easy, because in math, we have a handy-dandy conversion formula we can use. What is it? Let me show you. It is this: kg = lb / 2.2046, where lb is pounds and kg is kilograms. How do we use this formula? We use this formula to convert pounds to kilograms.

We plug in our pounds value and then divide by 2.2046 to find out how many kilograms we have. For example, to convert 150 pounds to kilograms, we plug in 150 into our formula for pounds and then divide by 2.2046 to get 68.04 kilograms. So, 150 pounds is the same as 68.04 kilograms. Pretty cool, huh?

Now to go from kilograms to pounds, we use the formula lb = kg * 2.2046, where we plug in our kilogram value and multiply it by 2.2046. For example, to convert 70 kilograms into pounds, we plug in our 70 where we see the kg and then we multiply by 2.2046 to get 154.32 pounds.

From Fahrenheit to Celsius and Back

Next, we have our temperature measures: degrees Fahrenheit and degrees Celsius. If you look at any thermometer, you can actually easily change between Fahrenheit and Celsius. And yes, of course we have a conversion formula for this, as well.

The formula to convert Fahrenheit into Celsius is C = (F - 32) * 5/9, where F is Fahrenheit and C is Celsius. We use this formula the same way we used the formula for converting our pounds to kilograms. We plug in our Fahrenheit reading where we see the F, and then we calculate to find our Celsius.

Let's see how this works with an example. To convert 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit into Celsius, we plug 98.6 into our F, and then we subtract 32 to get 66.6. Then we multiply by 5, which gives us 333, and then we divide by 9 to get 37 degrees Celsius. So, 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is the same as 37 degrees Celsius. This is considered our normal body temperature. As a note here, instead of multiplying by 5 and then dividing by 9, you can also skip a step by multiplying by 5/9.

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