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How To Remember Customary System Measurement Conversions - A Mnemonic Device For Cups, Pints, Quarts, Gallons

Updated on September 17, 2012

Remembering Customary Unit Measurements

In the United States, we measure things using customary units. The volumetric measures are cups, pints, quarts, and gallons. Remembering these measurements and their conversions can be difficult. People of all ages struggle with knowing how many cups, pint, quarts, and gallons make up everyday things. Many school children have problems remember the amounts and how to convert between measurements when they first learn measurements in grade school. Adults may struggle with these conversions while cooking. How many cups can your 2 quart pot hold? How many pints of water do you need to drink each day?

There is an easy way to remember the measurements. This method can also be used to do the measurement conversions.

Conversions Using The Square Method

To convert between cups and gallons you can draw a square and divide it in half multiple times. When you are done you will have a graphic representation of cups, pints, quarts, and gallons. If you need to convert measurements you can simply draw the squares and count the boxes.

1. Cups

To start off, get out a piece of paper. Draw one square on it. This square is one cup. A cup holds 8 ounces.

2. Pints

Take your square and draw a line from the top to the bottom dividing it in half. Then draw a line from left to right. You will now have two rectangles. Each rectangle has two squares in it. The rectangles are pints. The squares are cups. Each pint has two cups.

3. Quarts

The big box that now has four squares represents a quart.

Each quart has two pints or four cups.

4. Gallons

We are going to take the big box with four squares and divide it in half a few more times. First, divide the left column in half by drawing a line up and down through it. Next, do the same thing to the right column. After that, draw a line dividing the top row in half left to right. Then, do the bottom row the same way. You should now have sixteen squares.

Each of the little squares is one cup. There are sixteen cups in a gallon.

Each of the big squares in one quart (notice how it sounds like quarter, or quarter gallon). There are four quarts in a gallon.

You can also see that 8 pints are in one gallon.

Notice now each big square has four little squares? There are four cups in a quart.


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    • Lwelch profile image

      Lena Welch 3 years ago from USA

      I am sorry. i don't right off. I learned this one from my mentor teacher when I was doing fieldwork.

    • profile image

      kayla 3 years ago

      ok first off i am a new culinary student and are teacher has asked up to remember the cups quarts and pints and oz s and teaspoons and tablespoons. This came in very handy for me to remember this thank you so much. if you know of any sites now that can help me with the teaspoon or tablespoon part be greatly appreciated

    • Lwelch profile image

      Lena Welch 5 years ago from USA

      You're welcome!

    • caltex profile image

      caltex 5 years ago

      Never thought of it this way. This sure is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lwelch profile image

      Lena Welch 5 years ago from USA

      Not showing up? odd.... You are approved. Wonder if the lag monster got it. I can see them. If they don't show up maybe I will have to ask support that question. Let me know.

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      Hey..Lwelch..where did my comment go ?

    • Lwelch profile image

      Lena Welch 5 years ago from USA

      You are welcome! I learned it while doing fieldwork at a school last year. If only I had been taught this trick earlier! I never could remember the differences. That is a great idea for a kitchen tool.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      Lwelch..WOW !! what a geat and handy idea for in the a matter of fact you gave me an idea for holiday gifts..I will make small wooden plaques with this info written on them, they can hang in a kitchen......they also can be done as a small poster for wall hanging at home or in the classroom...thank you so much for sharing....