We can convert any measuring unit to another by multiplying it by a very special ratio (or ratios) that equals ONE. We can form these special ratios from the conversion factors. For example, 1 ft = 12 in is a conversion factor, and we can write from it the ratios 1 ft/12 in and 12 in/1 ft, which both equal 1.
Then, to convert a measurement in inches into feet, we can multiply it by the ratio 1 ft/12 in. The inches will cancel out as units, and we get a result that is in feet.
This is a very useful technique when the conversions are more complex, such as converting between metric and customary systems. Often, you need to use several ratios in a "chain" -- called "chaining", which is explained in the 2nd part of this lesson:
This introductory lesson is meant for 6th grade and onward.
Tagged under: convert measuring units,ratio,6th grade,math,dimensional analysis
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