Home Units of Measurement in the United States

# Units of Measurement in the United States

Have you ever been in the middle of baking a batch of holiday cookies and realized you don’t know how much flour is supposed to go in the bowl? That’s when measurement comes in handy. But how do you measure different kinds of objects and do you measure everything in the same way, using the same units?

We have a wide variety of units that we can use to measure almost anything. While the differences between systems of measurement are not always massively important, we do need to know the different ways we measure, and the various corresponding values when comparing measurements in multiple units. What is an ounce versus a quart? How does a kilometer compare to a mile? Let’s dive into the US Standard Measurement System to learn more about measuring liquids, weight, temperature, and length.

## Liquids Measurement Units

There are many levels of units to measure liquids. You will see these on packaging for liquid groceries, measuring cups, and more.

### Fluid Ounces

Fluid ounces (abbreviated as “fl oz”) are small. As you will read about soon, there are also ounces (oz) which measure weight. Fluid ounces, however, measure the volume of a liquid. To help put it into perspective, there are 8 fluid ounces in one cup.

### Cups

A cup is not standard across the board, meaning that your average drinking glass size may vary and thus we use measuring cups to accurately measure liquids. As you learned, there are 8 fluid ounces in one cup.

### Pint

A pint is equal to 2 cups. The first example that may come to mind is a pint of milk.

### Quart

Quarts are a bit larger than pints, equaling 4 cups (or 2 pints).

### Gallon

Gallons are the largest measurement when it comes to liquids. A gallon is equal to 16 cups. The first example that may come to mind is a gallon of water or milk that you might buy from the grocery store.

128 fluid ounces = 16 cups = 8 pints = 4 quarts = 1 gallon

## Weigh Measurement Units

Weight measures how heavy an object is. It is the force of gravity on an object. The first example we think of is a person’s weight, or maybe our own weight. A person’s weight is usually in pounds– but did you know there is a weight measurement smaller than that?

### Ounces

Ounces (oz), similar to fluid ounces discussed above, is the smallest unit of measurement when it comes to weight. A slice of bread is about one ounce- very light! When you put together 16 ounces, you get 1 pound.

### Pounds

Pounds (lb), are used to measure a lot of things- people, animals, furniture, appliances, and so on. When you put together 2000 pounds, you get 1 ton.

### Tons

As we mentioned, 1 ton is 2000 pounds. It’s easier to measure the weight of automobiles, elephants, ships, and more in tons. You could of course measure it in pounds or ounces but it is easier to understand 2 tons versus 4000 pounds.

32,000 ounces = 2,000 pounds = 1 ton

## Temperate Measurement Units

Temperature can be measured in Fahrenheit (℉) or Celsius (℃). However, in the US Standard Metric System, we use Fahrenheit. The Fahrenheit scale was proposed back in 1724 by European physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, hence the name. In Fahrenheit, the freezing point is 32℉ and the boiling point is 212℉

Temperature is measured by a thermometer which works using liquid. An increase in heat causes the liquid inside the thermometer tube to expand, pushing it up. A decrease in heat contracts the liquid, moving it down the tube. Many thermometers will show you Fahrenheit on one side and Celsius on the other – a great way to learn both!

## Length Measurement Units

Length can be measured for things like distance from one location to another, length of a table to find a fitting table cloth, and much more. Length is measured in a few different units: inches, feet, yards, and miles. Similar to weight, you’ll see that each one is used more so for certain types of items.

### Inches

Inches are the smallest unit of measurement in the US Standard system. You will see inches on a ruler – which is a total of 12 inches, equivalent to 1 foot. Inches are used to measure items like rainfall, boxes, or stationary.

### Feet

As mentioned, 1 foot equals 12 inches (a ruler!). A “foot” means 1 foot while more than 1 would be written and spoken as “feet”. Feet are used to measure slightly larger items like tables, rugs, wires, and more. It would be hard to measure a phone or bottle in feet, so items of around those sizes should be measured in inches.

### Yards

A yard is equal to 3 feet. Yards can be used to measure even larger items like a lawn, a sports field, fabric, and more. Interestingly enough, you might notice that some items, while larger, are not measured in yards but still in feet.

### Miles

Miles are only used to measure distance. This could be distance while jogging, biking, or driving. The equivalent to  1 mile is 5,280 feet.

63,360 inches = 5,280 feet = 1,760 yards = 1 mile

## At Online Math Center

It’s important to understand the US Standard Measurement System and it’s not as complicated as it seems! As middle school students prepare to learn about measurement, they will get better at understanding what items require what units to properly measure. Getting your kids the practice they need to understand the units of measurement does not have to be stressful.

At Online Math Center, we have years of experience helping elementary school students grasp concepts like these. In our tailored one-to-one tutoring lessons, students get the attention they deserve and the opportunity to focus on the topics they’re struggling with. We also offer prep classes for the Math SAT and math competitions, as well as classes aimed at high school students.

Take the stress out of your child’s math education and contact OMC today to enroll them in a tutoring program tailored to their specific needs.

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