• Tammy Layman-Hall

3 Ways to Add Metric into Your K-12 Activities

Tips for activity writers who are not native metric measurers.

For US-based work instruction authors writing for a US-based audience telling readers how much to use seems like a no-brainer. Hold on up there. Writing K-12 activities using the USC, or United States Customary System (Yep, it has a name) limits your audience and short-changes your US-based readers.

First, educational publishers want your activities. Educators across the globe are looking for well-designed crafts that help reinforce content in their students. The key word there is "globe". So, if you're looking to reach a wider audience with your zipline egg-drop STEM activity, include metric measurements. Second, listing only USC measurements in your materials list short-changes your US-based students. Look, these kids are interacting on a global level at very early ages. Social channels burst with international creators who are native metric speakers. Here's three ways to help everyone out.

  1. Use volume measurements. List cups and grams. Baking is a big lockdown DIY family activity. Trust that many US-based families have kitchen scales at home. Once you start looking, you'll notice all sorts of things are measured by volume weight, such as yarn and pasta. That 1lb box of rotini comes in at 454 g. Jot that down when you are crafting your pesto recipe targeting the hungry middle school audience.

  2. Measure in lengths in centimeters. Likewise, once you start looking for centimeters, you'll find all sorts of everyday objects tell you their metric size. For instance, 1-Subject Wide Ruled Spiral Notebooks are 27 cm x 20 cm. Add the how many centimeters long that piece of yarn needs to be for the pasta necklace craft. The eager Kindergartener will enjoy the whole number length you've chosen whether it is metric or standard. The struggling with fractions 5th grader will enjoy the self-esteem boost when they can easily double or half that length yarn.

  3. Show them side by side. Still, the easiest way for primary standard measurers to do this is a table. Like this:

Ingredient List Amount Needed Amount Needed

(Standard) (Metric)

Pasta 1lb 454 g

To that end, using metric is important for kids. They interact on a global level. For instance, both of my middle graders follow several DIY Youtubers based in other countries. Their favorite gamer is out of the UK. Our favorite new sewing DIY-er is out of Australia. Both native metric users.

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