This virtual manipulative provides training in conversions between different unit systems in a variety of scenarios. It is also possible to create and solve your own conversion problems.
Type of Material:
Self study, class demonstration, tool for assignments.
Should run in any browser.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Conversion of units.
Target Student Population:
High school and college.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic science to the point that units make sense.
This tool provides correct conversions from one unit system to another.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Structured development of the unit conversion. Each step is set up as a multiplication with a fraction such as 1.609km/1mi; units are then canceled as appropriate and the fraction is simplified. Both reviewers are convinced that this is exactly how unit conversion should be presented. The possibility of creating and solving your own conversion problem is a big plus.
As with any tool of this kind, students may become too dependent on the conversion factors being available to them, though some standard conversion factors should ultimately be committed to memory.
Results that are fractions with a decimal in the numerator and a 1 in the denominator look a bit strange.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Intuitive click-and-drag interface allows the insertion of conversion factors. If a factor is not useful, the interface warns the user and forces the step to be undone.
The interface requires using the provided conversions, which are limited. To convert km to mm, the user needs to convert km to m, m to cm, then cm to mm. This is cumbersome, but may have the educational benefit of driving home standard relations between units, which are more useful than memorizing the direct conversion factors.
In long conversions, the denominators on the second line get lost.
On a slower computer the site takes a while to load.
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