Making ‘Merica MetricThroughout the world, there are two systems of measurements, metric and customary.
The metric systems uses units such as grams, meters, centimeters, etc. while the customary system uses units like pounds, inches, yards, etc. The metric system is much simpler to use than the customary system in terms of conversions and basic measurements. Every country, but America uses the metric system. America should convert to using the metric system. When kids go off to school to learn math, reading, and science, they are also learning both the metric system of measurements and customary systems of measurements. Because America uses the customary system while subjects like science are taught using the metric system, students have to learn both systems of measurements which is unnecessary and causes confusion.
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For example, in my science class, everything we do is in metric units so we have to learn how to convert centimeters and meters to millimeters and kilometers. However, in my math class, we use the customary system to convert inches, miles, yards, etc. By having to use both systems of measurements, I become confused as to which units convert to other units. “Teaching two measurement systems in confusing and complicated” (milebehind 3). If America were to switch to using the metric system, then students would only have to learn one system of measurement versus two. “Increasingly our children will study abroad—but they won’t know the measures used almost everywhere else in the world” (milebehind 4). With more students going overseas, where countries use the metric system, America should be teaching students how to use the metric system, not wasting time teaching the customary system.
The United States is one of the only countries in the world that does not use the metric system. In fact, “The United States is now the only industrialized country in the world that does not use the metric system as its predominant system of measurement” (NIST 1). Because the United States is one of the only countries that doesn’t use the metric system, when a person from the U.S.
and a person from a country like France (where the metric system is used) have to communicate by using measurements, there would be confusion because both people have different units and conversions of measurement. “..
.conversion to the metric system was in the best interests of the Nation, particularly in view of the importance of foreign trade and the increasing influence of technology in American life” (NIST 8). When my family and I went on a vacation to Iceland, converting between customary and metric units was more difficult than it seems. When we would ask for directions to get to a landmark, the locals would say something such as “Drive about 800 meters then take a left” we would have to google how many feet 800 meters was. While many are opposed to America converting to the metric system due to the fact that Americans have “adapted” and are used to using the customary system in their daily lives, it is much easier to convert measurements using the metric system. When converting units within the metric system, it is simply multiplying and dividing by “benchmark” numbers like 100 and 10. “Because the metric system is a decimal system of weights and measures it is easy to convert between units (e.g.
from millimetres to metres, or grams to kilograms) simply by multiplying or dividing by 10, 100, 1000, etc. Often this is just a case of moving the decimal point to the right or left” (think metric 2). For instance, if I were taking a math test and I had to convert feet to miles, I would have to do math involving the number 5,280. However, if I used the metric system to convert centimeters to meters, my math would only involve the number 100, which is easier to use.
In daily life, it would also be easier if the U.S. adapted to using the metric system if you had to go to the supermarket and convert grams to kilograms rather than converting pounds to ounces. When considering that students have to learn two measurement systems, the metric system is used throughout the world, and it is easier to convert metric systems, it can be seen that America should convert to using the metric system. It would be more beneficial for American citizens to use the metric system in not only their school/work lives, but also in their daily lives.