MEASUREMENTS IN ENGLISH EXPRESSIONS CHANGED TO METRIC
This lesson is meant to teach with humor. We are simply making our students aware that we have many expressions or famous sayings that contain units of measurement that originated in England. This is a topic that I wouldn’t touch with a 3.05 meter pole.
I did this lesson while subbing and discovered that many young people were not able to figure out what a 22-liter hat was because they had never heard the phrase 10 gallon hat! And I live in Texas!!
Using a visual to create the image, I first make the statement in the metric system, then convert it to the “real” measurements. Just kidding! But that’s how we often feel. Or at least that is how our students feel: OUR way is the ONLY correct way.
Having taught Spanish for 30 years, one of the most important concepts that I had to teach was that our way is not always the “correct” way to say or do something. For example: the red house becomes la casa roja.
In English the adjective precedes the noun; in Spanish it usually follows.
Accepting that other cultures say/do things differently is a very important life concept. While doing this lesson, the metric conversions became easier for me. I lived in Argentina for a year, functioning in that system. As soon as I got home to my “real” life, those measurement conversions auto-deleted because I didn’t have 28.35 grams of sense!
It is not necessary to finish the whole 8.23 meters in one viewing. It would be OK to do it that way, perhaps to give an overview, but I envision using them as class openers. Just laughing about how strange the expressions sound helps the data sneak into the brain!
If you or your students can think of any more expressions, let me know, and I will add them to the lesson. Well, remember to keep your students under control. If you give them 2.54 centimeters, they will take 1.6 kilometers.