Characters: Darryl, Emanuel, Maggy, Deyanna
Setting: Darryl bursts through the study hall door waving a piece of paper.
Darryl: Hey, guys! Check out this wack letter that Mr. Veliz wrote to the teachers.
Emanuel: Wait a minute! What are you doing with a letter from the principal?
Darryl: When Ms. Rodas needs papers recycled, I’m her go-to guy. This letter was in her recycling bin. So now it’s mine!
Maggy: Darryl, I thought you were a diver on the swim team, not a dumpster diver.
Deyanna: That’s low, Maggy. Darryl, are you sure that letter shouldn’t be shredded?
Darryl: Nah, it’s not confidential. In fact, Ms. Rodas told me I should read it. It’s going to affect us.
Thank you for your deliberations regarding the question, “Shall we go metric?” The official Metric Committee of Valley View Middle School has concluded that yes, the school will convert to the metric system. On the first day of school this coming August, all measurements within our hallowed halls will be metric.
Emanuel: Hallowed halls? We have beat-up lockers in the halls, and Mr. Veliz thinks they are sacred?
Deyanna: Forget the halls, what’s this about the school measuring everything using the metric system?
Darryl: Yeah, it’s crazy. There’s a lot more.
As you know, other than the United States and a few other countries, all of the world uses the metric system, which is also known as the Système International d'Unités, or SI. It is time that Valley View students experience their surroundings using the same measurements as their international counterparts. We will use metric measurement for length, area, volume, temperature, and mass. Not only will our students then be capable of using the system known best around the world, they will also learn to appreciate the simplicity of the metric system.
Emanuel: Learn to appreciate? That doesn’t sound good, but Mr. Veliz is right about people in other countries not understanding how we measure. My cousins in Costa Rica measure lengths in meters and centimeters. They don’t know what I’m talking about when I say I’m 5 feet, 3 and three-quarter inches tall.
Darryl: Check this out. Mr. Veliz wrote about Ms. Hidalgo, my history teacher:
Ms. Hidalgo brought an historical perspective to the Valley View Metric Committee. She stated that in the 1970s the United States was on the verge of shifting to the metric system. For example, interstate highway signs stated distances in both kilometers and miles. Speed limits were written in miles per hour and kilometers per hour. Even earlier, in 1790, Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State for President Washington, proposed that the United States adopt a decimal-based measurement system. He thought having a system with factors of 10 between units would be simpler and more exact.
Deyanna: Thomas Jefferson had a good point. By third grade kids can multiply and divide by 10 and 100. So it is easy to convert using the metric system. The U.S. system isn’t so easy. Ok, I know 4 quarts equals a gallon, and 4 cups equals a quart. But what’s with a pint? And what is a bushel or a fathom? So yeah, I’m totally for changing to metric.
Darryl: Wait, there is more on the back.
Maggy: Of course, Mr. Veliz talks forever. Go on...
Because all scientists exclusively use the metric system, our science classes should also only use metric units of measure. For example, all beakers that measure quarts, pints, and cups will be replaced with beakers marked in liters and milliliters. Metric rulers will replace yardsticks. Our new scales will measure grams and kilograms, not ounces and pounds.
Deyanna: Dr. Phan will be fine with that. She’ll get new science equipment and another chance to remind us, “Remember your Ps & Qs: Precisely Quantify, Precisely Quantify.” She’s totally into measuring.
Darryl: Dr. Phan’ll be cool with going metric, but how about when Mr. Patmore teaches his cooking class? His recipes all call for cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons! Can you see Mr. Patmore throwing out his precious measuring cups?
Maggy: And he had us use candy thermometers too, remember? And I think they were Fahrenheit, not Celsius thermometers.
Deyanna: I don’t know if I’ll ever figure the temperature thing out. Twenty-six degrees will never sound like a warm day to me!
Emanuel: Hey Deyanna, I’m your science lab partner. Have you been asleep all year? Temperatures in the lab are already Celsius! It’s easy. Water freezes at 0 degrees and boils at 100. Darryl, finish the letter.
Finally I wish to thank you for your assistance in the transformation of Valley View to an all-metric school.
Emanuel: An all-metric school. Wait, does this mean all the sports stuff will be in metric, too?
Maggy: This could get confusing!