Metric Mania: Length

by Josiah Lemay

The Basis of the Meter

In 1790, it was originally declared a meter was one ten-millionth of the distance between the north pole and the equator (measured along a meridian in France). However, as of 1980, the length of the meter is identified as 1,650,763.73 wavelengths of orange-red light, specifically produced by the burning of krypton in a vacuum. To the right is one of the 30 copies of the physical meter.

Dimensional Analysis in Real Life?

Dimensional analysis can be seen in everyday life in many different ways, including, but not limited to
  • building a house, car, or anything. You need to know what parts fit where, which means knowing their exact size and dimensions could be extremely useful and possibly less tedious than just guessing and placing.
  • flying a plane. When in this situation, you need to know what your surroundings are. Just knowing your distance from the ground could be helpful in making a quick, easy, and safe landing.
  • fixing machinery, furniture, or supplies. In order to fix something in the most optimal way possible, you have to know an awful lot about what you're fixing (its dimensions included). Knowing the length, height, and width of an object you may be attempting to reconstruct is also required when you're trying to find a replacement part to a piece of work that may be made up of multiple segments.

Class Activity

  1. How many centimeters long is your desk if it is 6 feet in length? - Hint: 30.48 cm = 1 inch
  2. Find the volume of a CD case that is 30.3 centimeters in length, 4.32 decimeters in height, and 245.7 millimeters in width.
  3. Dave jumps a height of 1.3 meters. You jump a height of 105 centimeters. What is the difference in your jump heights in millimeters?