Volume, area, directional measurements and the metric system

Wickham finished her book with a discussion of directional  measurements, area measurements, volume measurements and the metric system. Each of these units are extremely valuable for journalists, as many hard news stories involve time, rate, distance, units and physical measurements.

Directional measurements include rate, velocity, momentum, distance, speed and acceleration. These topics apply to more than issues of physical science–they are relevant to travel, weather, national security and other important beats.

1. The Charlotte Raceway is only an hour away from Elon University’s campus. What is the momentum of a racecar with a mass of 815 kilograms if it is travelling at a velocity of 52 kilometers per hour?

Area measurements are obviously important in construction, buildings and development stories. During Elon University’s current period of growth and building construction, understanding area and the topics of perimeter, radius and square feet and yards has proven useful.

2. If there is 200 square-feet outside the Lakeside Dining Hall to add a square patio, what will the perimeter be if the architect would like 3 feet of pathway surrounding it? What will the area be?

Volume measurements are obviously ¬†important for liquids, but it may also be used to calculate the costs of solids, tons and cords. This may be especially useful for journalists covering economics and commerce. Consider the price of oil, coal, milk–volume is the measurement to use when investigating these issues.

3. If  John Smith sells firewood for $30 per 64 cubic feet, how much will it cost to purchase 4.5 cords?

The metric system has long been an issue for Americans, who are often out of their comfort zones when dealing with meters. But the international system is simple after mastering the language and power-of-10 steps. The system is actually used regularly in the United States, though some may not realize–it is already used to measure soda, sports successes, and more.

4. If Jeff’s belt is 30 in. long, how many millimeters long is it? Centimeters?



1. 42,380 kilogram kilometers per hour.

2. perimeter: 788 feet, area: 394 square feet

3: $270

4: 762 mm, 75cm

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