Remember the brain twisting lessons many of us received in elementary school. Somehow, the metric system was supposed to take over the country and those things called inches, feet, miles and pounds would be a thing of the past in the United States.
It never happened.
While the metric system has inched (or in this case centimetered) into our lives over the decades, it has hardly taken over. Our doctor prescribes us to take 200 milligrams of medicine. Those tiny dashes on the other side of the ruler represent millimeters and centimeters.
In 1976, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics declared the 10th month of the year with the week containing the 10th day as National Metric Week.
And that is this week – the 35th anniversary.
A spokesperson for the Omaha Public School district says there were no plans to celebrate National Metric Week. However, in one sense, the week is celebrated throughout the year in grades 3 through 8.
Luanne Nelson says education in metrics begins in the third grade. Students learn the metric system for measuring distance.
In the 4th grade, they continue that lesson and learn how to convert metric measurements into other metric measurements. They are introduced to the metric system for measuring weight and capacity & volume.
In the 5th grade they use the system for length and weight. Then they learn about measuring temperatures in metrics.
In the 6th grade, they use the metric system to measure capacity & volume in addition to length and weight. Students also convert any metric unit, whether it’s distance, weight or capacity from one metric unit to another.
Apparently, they get a break in the 7th grade, so let’s move on.
In the 8th grade, students learn how to convert between metric and standard units of measurement when given the conversion factor.
That takes us back to the headline of this story. We needed an online metric conversion website to figure out how fast the posted speed limit is along some stretches of Interstate 80 in Nebraska. The posted speed limit is 75 miles per hour which converts to 120 kilometers per hour.