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How America Can Convert to the Metric System

Updated on October 4, 2015
DeborahDian profile image

Deborah is the mother of grown daughters and loves to write about fashion, gifts, diet, homemaking, technology, money and the holidays.

Everyone in the World Uses the Metric System Except the US - Isn't It Time We Learned How?

The U.S. is way behind the rest of the developed world in math proficiency, partially because we don't use the metric system as our primary system of measurement.
The U.S. is way behind the rest of the developed world in math proficiency, partially because we don't use the metric system as our primary system of measurement. | Source

Making Metrics Simple

The United States is the only country left in the world that does not use the metric system as its primary system of measurement and mathematics. While other countries may use a local system of measurement for some tasks, all of the other nations in the world have adopted the metric system as their official system. Consequently, our students in the United States operate at a disadvantage in math, science, technology, medicine, manufacturing and engineering.

Recently, my husband wanted to replace the battery in our old Mercedes. Two of the four bolts holding in the battery needed to be removed with a metric tool. The other two needed to be removed with American tools that had a 1/2 inch dimension. My husband was grumbling the whole time, "This is a German car. Why aren't all the bolts metric?" He also told me he completely agreed that we should completely convert this country to the metric system.

What makes our Imperial System of feet, quarts, and miles even more inconvenient is the fact that eventually our young people must learn the metric system anyway, whether they are working in a factory or a hospital. Nearly all tools, medications, and many other products are measured using metric. Teaching two completely different measurement systems to our children is such a waste, and completely unnecessary. Our money is already based on the metric decimal system and few people have trouble learning about money, Teaching the metric system from the beginning would be so easy for our children.

With very little effort, we could completely convert the United States to the metric system. Over the period of a decade we could begin to stop teaching the Imperial System and only focus on the Metric System from the moment our students enter school. Signs, including speed limits and gas pumps, could display the conversion for ten years, until Americans became used to them. For those who want more detailed conversion information, there are plenty of conversion tables and electronic conversion calculators available. Using the tools shown below, the United States could quickly and conveniently convert to the metric system and help put our students on an even par with students in other countries.

Take a moment to see all the metric system products that are already available to us. Many multi-national companies are already prepared to lead the way. For example, check out the Amazon products shown below. Once we Americans decide to make the conversion, more products would become available within weeks, since they are already being manufactured around the world.

(Photo of metric tape measure courtesy of Amazon.com)

Metric Cook Books

One way to help convert this country to the metric system is to provide cook books that are written using metric measurements. One way to do this is to simply order a cookbook from England, Australia or any other English speaking country that uses the metric system.

There are also a few cookbooks you can order for sale on Amazon that identify themselves as using metric measurements. The ones shown below are a good place to start in teaching yourself to use metric measurements.

Metric Kitchen Tools

In order to help Americans convert to the metric system, they will need to pick up a few new kitchen tools, such as metric measuring cups and spoons. If you intend to begin using metric measurements in your cooking, you will find some of these kitchen tools will be very helpful.

However, before you throw out your old kitchen supplies, you will need to look closely at them. Many of our current measuring cups already show the metric measurements on them, too!

Using the Metric System

Hopefully, by now, you are beginning to see that the metric system can be just as easy to use and is even more convenient than the Imperial System we currently use.

In fact, most of us already use the metric system some of the time without giving it a second thought. As mentioned before, our money is based on the metric decimal system. In addition, most of us have purchased a two-liter bottle of soda at some point in our lives without ever wondering how many quarts it contained.

We already use metric tools and buy medications, including over-the-counter drugs, that have been measured out in grams. Americans who travel to other countries are usually able to quickly understand how the metric system works, whether they are applying it to the speed limit or purchasing a bottle of wine.

Americans are able to learn the metric system and can regain the lead we once had in math and science.

Metrics and Our Educational System

Whether today's students want to grow up to repair automobiles or they want to become doctors, they eventually must learn the metric system. However, rather than teaching them metrics from preschool through high school, as they do in other countries, we start out teaching our American students about inches, feet, quarts and miles. While the metric system is based on units of ten, which are easy to multiply and divide, we force our children to learn an inconsistent set of numbers. For example, there are twelve inches in a foot, three feet in a yard, thirty-six inches in a yard, four quarts in a gallon, etc. It can take our children years to learn and remember all these different numbers, and many never completely master this system. While young children in other countries know that there are 1000 meters in a kilometer, few Americans know how many feet or yards are in a mile.

Measurement of all kinds are so much easier when we use the metric system. Forcing our kids to learn the Imperial system almost seems like a punishment.

Ozeri Touch Professional Digital Kitchen Scale (12 lbs Edition), Tempered Glass in Elegant Black
Ozeri Touch Professional Digital Kitchen Scale (12 lbs Edition), Tempered Glass in Elegant Black

A digital kitchen scale that will help you weight out the correct about of food.

 

Liter Measuring Containers

In addition, Americans will need liter measuring cups and other containers. This shouldn't be hard for Americans to adjust to, since most of us have bought sodas in two-liter bottles. Once we own the proper storage containers, switching to the metric system will be easy.

Meter Sticks

Of course, when American eventually converts to the metric system, everyone will need a meter stick. They aren't much different than a yardstick, so I know everyone will adjust quickly to using them.

As you can see, the items that Americans will need to make the conversion are not very expensive ... a few measuring devices and we're all set.

Metric Tool Kits

Many people already have metric tool sets. However, if you don't have what you need already, here are a couple of sets that may meet your needs.

Currently, my husband has to have a set of metric tools and well as American tools so that he can make minor repairs on our cars. Once we convert to the metric system, guys who like to do their own repairs would find that life is much easier when they just need to own one set of tools.

Do you think the United States should convert to the metric system?

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    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 2 years ago from Orange County, California

      Thank you, ShadowSphereOT. Life would be so much easier for our American children if the grownups would just be willing to convert to the metric system ... which is used by everyone else in the world. How much longer will we make our kids suffer?

    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      While most of us have managed to learn the Imperial system, it is much harder mathematically and nearly every form of technology requires us to use the metric system. It would be so much easier if our kids only had to learn one system. American children are the only ones in the world who have to learn two systems.

    • ShadowSphereOT profile image

      Gabriel 3 years ago from U.S.

      I like the Idea of a universal metric system. On the other hand the imperial system is not that hard to master (at least for me). I don't see why we couldn't learn both, if most people in the U.S. already do. Not have one above the other in importance. And, with the power of the internet does it really matter when you can easily check the conversion if needed. I do like my imperial measuring tape though, just saying.

    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      @Old Navy Guy: I remain amazed at how resistant American adults are to changing our system of math to the same one used by the rest of the world ... especially since our money and most of our technology already uses metrics, so we condemn our children to learn two completely different systems, while children in other parts of the world only need to learn one. I really appreciate the time you took to read and comment on this article.

    • Old Navy Guy profile image

      Old Navy Guy 3 years ago

      Nope

    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      @othellos: I wrote a short article about the metric system on another site and received dozens of comments from around the world by people who are frustrated with the U.S. for being so old-fashioned about clinging to its old math system. In addition, I worked in a high school and saw for myself how much it hurts our kids to not be using a simpler system of math. I don't know why we can't make the same change that every other country has.

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      othellos 4 years ago

      I faced a lot of difficulties when I studied in NY because always I had to convert in order to make sure what was the right price. Making a universal system I think is the only solution. Thanks for posting this excellent article:=)

    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      @askformore lm: I agree that it will be nice when the US is also on the metric system, so the whole world uses the same system of math!

    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 4 years ago

      As a European I look forward to the day that the metric system is universal.

    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      @anonymous: I hope that the US does convert to the metric system, soon. It will certainly make math much easier for our students, and it will also make it easier for them to compete with other countries.

    • LornsA178 profile image

      LornsA178 4 years ago

      Very educational, informative and helpful lens.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I can remember when I was in high school in the 1970s being told that the U.S. would be on the metric system in a decade or so. I fully expected that to happen. I do believe it will happen in our lifetime.

    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      @LornsA178: I hope this information will help Americans realize that this change could be made, and it would be better for all Americans if we changed to the metric system.

    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      @neotony: I agree that Americans need to be able to use the same math system as the rest of the world!

    • neotony profile image

      neotony 4 years ago

      this is a very helpful lens. we should all learn the metric system so we can communicate with the rest of the world more efficiently.

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      regius 4 years ago

      Metrics is surely a fun topic to read for me. Very well written. Was a nice read.

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 4 years ago

      I think they should convert. This was a very interesting read.

    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      @dellgirl: Thank you so much for the congratulations! I hope this lens will prompt some improvements to education in our country, so I am happy for the publicity.

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      dellgirl 4 years ago

      Congratulations on making Fresh Pages â Latest Additions in Education. Nice work.

    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      @sukkran trichy: I agree with you completely! I believe that sooner or later America will have to convert to the metric system, if we are going to stay competitive in math, science, technology, medicine and manufacturing!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 4 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      the world has settled on the metric system. right now, about 95% of the world population using the metric system or getting close. many countries by now put under the ban the products with any non-metric description on the labels and more nations will follow soon. shift to the metric system is unavoidable, sooner or later.!

    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      @WriterJanis2: Thank you! It would take older people (like me) a little longer to adjust, but it would make like so much easier for our children and grandchildren. Thank you for your comments!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      I think it would be quite a challenge and something that would take a long time, but I think it could be done.

    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      @jonathanwm: Thank you for reading my lens. This is a topic I feel passionately about because I work in a high school and I see so many kids who struggle with our awkward system of mathematics.

    • jonathanwm profile image

      jonathanwm 4 years ago

      Love your len and enjoy reading it !