National Metric Week is the week of October 10th. It’s a great time to introduce students to metrics!
General principles for teaching the Metric System:
Top priorities for teaching the metric system at any level include the following general principles supplied by Dr. William Hooper, a retired college professor who has successfully taught courses on the metric system to teachers and prospective teachers for 20 years:
- Stop teaching (and using) the inch-pound (I-P) system completely. Teach only the metric system.
- Never teach conversion of units from I-P to metric or vice-versa. It is a skill that will hardly ever be needed by anyone except a few specialists, and then only during the transition period.
- TEACH measuring in metric by DOING measuring in metric. Acquire metric measuring devices (meter sticks, kilogram/gram scales, Celsius thermometers, etc.), preferably ones that are metric only. If they are dual (showing I-P also), cover up, cut off, sand down, or paint over the old I-P scales.
- Use SI, the International System of Units, also called the modern metric system. There are many well-meaning people who consider themselves metric authorities but know only the older versions of the metric system (like CGS and MKSA) and who are not aware that some practices in those older versions are not acceptable in the SI. Don’t teach wrong practices that will have to be untaught later.