This is a converter tool that allows the viewer to input a number to one unit system and then see the conversion in any one of a number of other systems. In a sense, it is a pre-programmed calculator.
Type of Material:
This is a calculation tool (utility) which allows students to input data and convert measurement units to other measurement systems. It is an interactive tool that calculates equivalences between measurement systems and within measurement systems using different units.
The tool could be used in calculations. It could also be used to develop ball- park estimations of conversions (i.e. meters are slightly longer than yards). This tool would be useful in any class that requires conversions or anytime someone is exposed to information in one measurement that may be unfamiliar. Using this tool would be like translating into a language that he user can understand.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
This is a technical tool, useful in calculations for conversions. If students take note of the conversions, they can learn some proportional relationships.
Target Student Population:
This tool could be used by students in elementary, middle level, secondary, and post-secondary schools in solving problems. The tool is useful in everyday problem solving situations where measurement is involved.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
There is no prequisite knowledge or skill. You only need input the number of units and the calculation is made for you. Students should be familiar with appropriate uses of different types of measurement in order for the tool to make sense. They should know what the measurements are used for.
Evaluation and Observation
The site provides a quick calculator for students to use. It is, in a sense, an Excel spreadsheet that accounts for major measurement systems.
The Converter is a stand alone. It can be incorporated into a user's website for a fee (currently $49). There are no plans or suggestions for use in classrooms at any level. Students could use this without a conceptual understanding of what the measurements look like.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
There are instances when converting measurement is essential in problem solving in both the sciences and in mathematics. This tool allows for quick and easy conversion. Students would be able to do many computations and comparisons without tedious work.
The tool does exactly what it purports to do. It allows the user to specify the number of decimal places as well as what measurement category is available on startup (i.e. length). It presumes that the students have conceptual understanding of measurement. It could be used without that understanding.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This is a simple calculator to use.
Ther are no visuals. Students cannot "see" the differences between the measurement systems.
Other Issues and Comments:
This is a great calculator. It can be used as a quick way to convert measurement in a variety of units: area, bits, density, energy, force, length, mass, power, pressure, speed, temperature, and volume.
It does not include time (conversions from hours to minutes or seconds.