Imperial Measurements

This one is always good for impressing people with your knowledge of arcane units.

Little things like knowing that an acre was originally a chain wide and a furrow long (furlong). Then knowing that there are ten chains to a furlong and that a chain is 22 yards, the length of a cricket pitch.

Also the confusing array of volumetric units, where it turns out that fluid ounces in the UK and US are not the same, and the fact that in the US there are 16 fluid ounces to a pint, whereas in the UK there are 20. We both have the same number of pints to the gallon, which is why US gallons are smaller than proper imperial ones.


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I refuse to work in metric :D We have my parents ancient old weighing scale which only has lbs and oz marked - good maths practice for the children having to convert those pesky metric grams and kilos into imperial weights.
It's a bit of an open ended question but do you think that many teachers are brutal towards imperial measurements and dislike children using them?
I use whichever is most convenient. People forget that imperial measures evolved because they were people-sized units and therefore convenient in the limited scope for which they were needed. Metric is great for science where the units have been defined from a single arbitrary base (1/10,000,000 of a line drawn between the North Pole and the equator through Paris) although the accuracy has improved since then.
I wonder whether teachers who are metric zealots actually realise how much imperial stuff there is out in the real world.

A recently held bike maintenance session for HE children - and some of their schooled friends - became an interesting learning exercise. They found out why a 15mm spanner fits the pedals and some axle nuts, and also, why bikes are just about the only machine that requires a 15mm spanner because it isn't an official metric size. Next they learned that the French word for an adjustable spanner is cle Anglaise, or literally, English spanner. Originally used as a derogatory term but it later became the official name.