## Thursday, June 2, 2011

### Creative Units of Measure, Part III

I thought I was really on to something this week, writing about creative ways to measure special objects, or ways to make an object's measurements memorable. What better use of our elementary math skills than to invent new units of measure when we grow up?

But today I was bummed (look it up, kids) when I discovered the Wikipedia page entitled:

List of unusual units of measurement

Someone(s)'ve already written these things down. The Big Mac Index. The Jiffy. The Fully-laden 747. And explained them! It might make an interesting read for you, but I'm not here just to provide links to other people's stuff - I want to create my own.

Therefore, I hereby make up my own unit of measure - THE JOE. And I will explain why, in pictures.

Here we have some reels of wire or tubing. And a compressor. Distance, weight, compressed air pressure? What units do we use to measure this?

Here are some giant tanks, and some books, and electronic gear. Gallons? Pages? Kilovolts? Tons?

I can't even begin to collect the words to describe this conglomeration of goods. However, I did notice that lots of the stuff is in crates like this one.

All this stuff belongs to a surplus goods merchant named Joe. Therefore, my new unit, THE JOE represents about 4 x 4 x 4 or 64 cubic feet of miscellaneous STUFF.

Joe rents all this yellow area (space in a warehouse). The ceilings are 20 feet high. I reckon that's 144,000 cubic feet.

Q. How many JOEs can fit in 144,000 cubic feet?
A.

PS - in Excel Math we help kids learn that you can't normally mix the items being described by units - or as we say, "you can't combine apples and oranges".

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