34. A Change Is Near.

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The United States has joined the trend toward a system of measurement called the metric system. The names of the units in this system may sound strange to our ears. Still, there are only a few words that we have to learn for daily use. Some units of measure that we now use will not change. Time will still be measured in hours, minutes and seconds. Electric power will still be measured in watts. Our money system will stay the same.

The metric system is already being used in this country. In swimming, track and field events, lengths are given in meters rather than in yards and feet. Our astronauts told the world how far their rocket had landed from a lunar hill in meters. You see weights listed in grams on more and more packaged items at the market. The trend toward metric is increasing.

The metric system is becoming popular throughout the world for two reasons. One, it is a simple system. Two, it is a decimal system. It is simple because each quantity, such as length (meter) or weight (gram), has its own unit of measure. No unit is used to show more than one quantity. In the system we now use, pounds can mean force, as in pounds needed to break a rope. Pounds can also be used for weight, as in a pound of sugar. Ounce can mean volume, as the number of ounces in a quart. Ounce can be used for weight, as the number of ounces in a pound.

The metric system is easier to learn to use in solving problems. This is because metric units are related to each other. They are based on a factor of 10. This makes figuring an easy task.

Think about the measurement of length. In the metric system, a measure of length is shown in meters of multiples of the meter. A centimeter is one hundredth of a meter. A millimeter is one thousandth of a meter. A kilometer is one thousand meters. All units are either a division or a multiple of 10.

More and more we will see the use of metrics. Children are now taught the metric system is school. Road signs on the highways will soon give distances in kilometers. More consumer goods will be made and labeled using metric units. The change is coming. Soon metric units will no longer be strange to our ears.

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