 Measurement
 The United States System of Measurement
 Conversions in the United States System
Summary: This module is from Fundamentals of Mathematics by Denny Burzynski and Wade Ellis, Jr. This module discusses the United States System of measurement. By the end of the module students should know what the word measurement means, be familiar with United States system of measurement and be able to convert from one unit of measure in the United States system to another unit of measure.
There are two major systems of measurement in use today. They are the United States system and the metric system. Before we describe these systems, let's gain a clear understanding of the concept of measurement.
Measurement is comparison to some standard.
The concept of measurement is based on the idea of direct comparison. This means that measurement is the result of the comparison of two quantities. The quantity that is used for comparison is called the standard unit of measure.
Over the years, standards have changed. Quite some time in the past, the standard unit of measure was determined by a king. For example,
1 inch was the distance between the tip of the thumb and the knuckle of the king.
1 inch was also the length of 16 barley grains placed end to end.
Today, standard units of measure rarely change. Standard units of measure are the responsibility of the Bureau of Standards in Washington D.C.
Some desirable properties of a standard are the following:
Some of the common units (along with their abbreviations) for the United States system of measurement are listed in the following table.
Unit Conversion Table  
Length  1 foot (ft) = 12 inches (in.) 1 yard (yd) = 3 feet (ft) 1 mile (mi) = 5,280 feet 
Weight  1 pound (lb) =16 ounces (oz) 1 ton (T) = 2,000 pounds 
Liquid Volume  1 tablespoon (tbsp) = 3 teaspoons (tsp) 1 fluid ounce (fl oz) = 2 tablespoons 1 cup (c) = 8 fluid ounces 1 pint (pt) = 2 cups 1 quart (qt) = 2 pints 1 gallon (gal) = 4 quarts 
Time  1 minute (min) = 60 seconds (sec) 1 hour ( hr) = 60 minutes 1 day (da) = 24 hours 1 week (wk) = 7 days 
It is often convenient or necessary to convert from one unit of measure to another. For example, it may be convenient to convert a measurement of length that is given in feet to one that is given in inches. Such conversions can be made using unit fractions.
A unit fraction is a fraction with a value of 1.
Unit fractions are formed by using two equal measurements. One measurement is placed in the numerator of the fraction, and the other in the denominator. Placement depends on the desired conversion.
Place the unit being converted to in the numerator.
Place the unit being converted from in the denominator.
For example,
Equal Measurements  Unit Fraction 






Make the following conversions. If a fraction occurs, convert it to a decimal rounded to two decimal places.
Convert 11 yards to feet.
Looking in the unit conversion table under length, we see that
Thus,
Convert 36 fl oz to pints.
Looking in the unit conversion table under liquid volume, we see that
Thus,
Convert 2,016 hr to weeks.
Looking in the unit conversion table under time, we see that
The unit fraction needed for converting from hours to days is
Thus,
Make the following conversions. If a fraction occurs, convert it to a decimal rounded to two decimal places.
Convert 18 ft to yards.
6 yd
Convert 2 mi to feet.
10,560 ft
Convert 26 ft to yards.
8.67 yd
Convert 9 qt to pints.
18 pt
Convert 52 min to hours.
0.87 hr
Convert 412 hr to weeks.
2.45 wk
Make each conversion using unit fractions. If fractions occur, convert them to decimals rounded to two decimal places.
14 yd to feet
42 feet
3 mi to yards
8 mi to inches
506,880 inches
2 mi to inches
18 in. to feet
1.5 feet
84 in. to yards
5 in. to yards
0.14 yard
106 ft to miles
62 in. to miles
0.00 miles (to two decimal places)
0.4 in. to yards
3 qt to pints
6 pints
5 lb to ounces
6 T to ounces
192,000 ounces
4 oz to pounds
15,000 oz to pounds
937.5 pounds
15,000 oz to tons
9 tbsp to teaspoons
27 teaspoons
3 c to tablespoons
5 pt to fluid ounces
80 fluid ounces
16 tsp to cups
5 fl oz to quarts
0.16 quart
3 qt to gallons
5 pt to teaspoons
480 teaspoons
3 qt to tablespoons
18 min to seconds
1,080 seconds
4 days to hours
3 hr to days
((Reference)) Specify the digits by which 23,840 is divisible.
1,2,4,5,8
((Reference)) Find
((Reference)) Convert
((Reference)) Use the clustering method to estimate the sum:
((Reference)) Use the distributive property to compute the product:
"Used as supplemental materials for developmental math courses."