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Make Your Own Unit Converter
Often students use unit conversion charts to perform unit conversions
which is not fun.
In this activity, students build their own paper unit converter.
To use the converter, first select between which units you want to make
the conversion and find corresponding unit-converter handle on the
slider. For example meters-to-feet. Then, on the "metric" scale, align
the number of meters with "meters/feet" handle. The "meters/feet"
converter handle points to the answer on the "imperial" scale.
Caveat: If you find that the conversion scale is too short, convert a
number which is 10 times smaller, then multiply the answer by 10. For
example, the converter cannot convert 50 meters to feet because 50m is
164 feet an the scale goes only to 100. Therefore, convert 5 meters to
16.4 feet. then, multiply 16.4 feet by 10 to find that 50m is same as
To build the calculator, one needs to make three straight cuts
and two straight folds. The assembly instructions are provided
on the reverse side of the calculator.