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1.4 Units & Conversions

1.4 Units & Conversions
  • Math Help

    A good way to build familiarity and intuition about conversions is to make your own spreadsheets and look at the results. To do this, you have to have some familiarity with writing algebraic expressions.

    For instance, you can create the following spreadsheet using 6 easy steps.

    1. Enter the titles "Celsius" and "Fahrenheit" into Row 1.
    2. Enter 100 into cell A2.
    3. Enter the formula = A2-10 into cell A3.
    4. Copy this formula into cells A4 through A17.
    5. Enter the formula = (9/5)*A2+32 into cell B3.
    6. Copy this formula into cells B4 through B17.

    If you are not used to creating spreadsheets, these steps might appear overwhelming. Please try to get over this feeling. If you can master this skill, you will find it to be valuable in many areas of life.

  • Consumer Suggestion

    The United States uses the Fahrenheit scale and some other countries use the Celsius scale. Did you know that there is a third scale for measuring temperature? The Kelvin scale, where absolute zero is 0 K, is used in the physical sciences. Visit The Temperature Conversion Project to learn more about the three temperature scales used today.

  • Checkpoint Solution
    1. From the spreadsheet in Example 6, you can see that a temperature of 20°C is equal to a temperature of 68°F.
    2. You need to find a temperature in degrees Celsius so that

      77 = 9 divided by 5 times the temperature in Celsius + 32

      Using the spreadsheet in Example 6, a temperature of 77°F will fall between 20°C and 30°C. By trial and error, you can see that 77°F is equal to 25°C.

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    Ron Larson (author)1 decade ago |
    Example 6 is one of the few places in the book where you will see algebra used. We do, however, make frequent use of formulas. With algebra, you need to be able to manipulate variables, such as subtracting F from both sides of an equation. When using a formula, all you need to do is substitute numbers in for the variables.