All About... Unit Conversion

Unit Conversion defined:

Unit conversion is a method used to get an answer in the correct units of measurement in problems relating to math and science.

Real-world information is given in dimensions, or the units in which the value (#) is measured.

For example, the following are all examples of units.

  • Kilometres
  • Metres
  • Litres
  • Micrograms
  • Hectares
  • Hours
  • Kilograms
  • Students

Solving problems by converting dimensions or canceling dimensions is the focus of this concept.

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Unit conversion is a way of changing one unit to another unit of the same dimension.

Step 1

State the given and needed units

Determine what unit is given and what unit you are seeking in the answer.

For example: How many seconds are in a day? (So, we are seeking seconds as a final answer.)






Rephrase what you want to know using the word "per," which means "divided by," and you're on the right track!

Step 2

Write the unit plan to convert the given unit to the final unit

Write the unit plan to convert the given unit to the final unit.

What we know our conversion factors to be:








Step 3

State the equalities and conversion factors to cancel units

As we have seen, conversion factors is a ratio of equivalent measurements. For example, (60 seconds/ 1 minute) is a conversion factor - they equal the same measurement. This method will help us cancel out units of measurement that we don't need.

Cancel out the units as you would in a fraction so that the answer is in the units we are looking for, in this case how many seconds per day (seconds/day)?


Step 4

Set up problem to cancel units and calculate answer

The minutes and hours cancel out, as we are looking for seconds per day, so we don't need those units of measurement.

Then we multiply our numbers 60 X 60 X 24 = 86400 seconds/day