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African Math - Jump Stats
STEM Topic 8: Who's Afraid of
the Metric System?

By Yoni Applebaum (edited)


What's the utility of having a single, standardized system of measurement?

Think of it as a common language. If everyone in the world speaks English, it's very easy to do business, travel, and engage in trade. The same is true of a single, standardized system of weights and measures.

Many factors played a role in frustrating the adoption of the metric system in the United States. But much of the opposition from the 1870s onward came from the manufacturers of high-end machine tools. They had based their entire system—which encompassed everything from lathe machines to devices for cutting screw threads—on the inch. Retooling, they argued, was prohibitively expensive. They successfully blocked the adoption of the metric system in Congress on a number of occasions in the late 19th and 20th century.

The most sophisticated and powerful opponents of the metric system were engineers who built the industrial infrastructure of the United States. They were engineers who built the industrial infrastructure of the United States. And their concerns, while self-interested, were not entirely off base. Whatever the drawbacks of the English units, the inch was divided in ways that made sense to the mechanics and machinists of the era: it was built around "2s" rather than "10s," with each inch subdivided in half and in half again—and so forth. This permitted various sizes of screw thread to have some logical correspondence to all the other increments. The same was true of the sizes of other small parts that were essential modern machinery.

Why does the call for the United States to adopt the metric system generate an immediate backlash?

National pride is at stake. The adoption of another country's weights and measures—or in the case of the metric system, the rest of the world's weights and measures—seems an infringement on national sovereignty. That the system in question has a long and distinguished history as a pet project of Francophile, cosmopolitan liberals probably doesn't help make it appealing to American conservatives.


Fig Newtons

Newton Figuring

The newton (symbol: N) is the unit of force. It is named after Sir Isaac Newton.

Newton devised his theory of gravity after witnessing an apple falling from a tree. There is no evidence to suggest that it hit him on the head.


Figuring Newtons


A Newton is how much force is required to make a mass of one kilogram (1kg = 2.2 lbs) accelerate at a rate of one meter (39.4 inches) per second squared (acceleration is a change in velocity which is measured by distance divided by time.)

Newton devised his theory of gravity after witnessing an apple falling from a tree. There is no evidence to suggest that it hit him on the head.

  • 1 Newton is equal to the amount of force required to accelerate an object at a rate of 1 meter per second, every second.

  • On the Earth's surface, a mass of 1 kg pushes on its support (the Earth) with an average force of 9.8 N.

Bivariate data: The Jump Training Chart* (example)

*NOTE: The jump training chart notations are measured in inches with the exception of the weight classification that is measured in lbs. 

STEM Topic 08: Problem Set 
the Metric System?
  1. Tariq spent $110 for some Air Nikes.  This was $14 less than twice what he spent for a Warriors jersey.  How much was the Warriors jersey

  2. There were 7 three-points shots score by Steph during the game. This is three more than four times the number of two point shots he scored.  How many two point shots did he score?

  3. The Warriors scored 104 points during the game. They scored 12 more points in the second-half than it did in the first half.  How many points did they score in each half?

  4. The Warriors and the Spurs scored a combined total of 37 points in the first quarter. The Warriors were ahead by a point at the end of the quarter. What was each team’s score?

  5. Steph Curry scored 10 more points than Klay Thompson in the second quarter. One number is 10 more than another.  The sum of twice Klay’s score plus three times Steph’s score is 55 points.  How many points did Klay score? How many points did Steph score?

  6. At the end of the game, Dray, Steph, and Klay together scored 80 points. Steph scored twice as much as Dray, and Klay score five less than Steph. How many points did Dray score? How many points did Steph score? How many points did Klay score?

  7. Together Klay and Steph scored 52 points. Steph scored two more points than Klay. How many points did Klay score? 

  8. Andrew Wiggins got his jumper working and hit for 35 points against the Knicks.  This was seven points less than three times the number of points Kevon Loony contributed. How many did points did Kevonn score?

  9. Anthony Lamb, GP II, and Keyvon  scored collectively scored 28 points. Lamb scored three times what GP II scored and Keyvon had three more points than more than GP II. How many points did each player score?

  10. Draymond collected two less rebounds than Keyvon such that three times the number of Dray’s boards was 5 more than twice those snagged by Keyvon. How many boards did Dray get?

  11. Curry is scoring 25 points per game for his first 20 games. If he shoots 34 points per game, how many games will it take him to get to an average of 30 points a game from the beginning of the season?

  12. Klay Thompson is hitting half of his three point attempts. He is 24 three pointers away from the tying the season record. If he had an average of 12 attempts per game, how many games does he have to play in to tie the record?

  13. In the current NBA season, Golden State has a winning percentage of 800. There are 20 games left: If Golden State continues to win at the same rate, how many games will they lose?

  14. Steph averages 2.0 steals per game. He gets injured.  Chris Paul his replacement averages 0.5 steals per game. How many fewer steals will the team have in the next 8 games?

Extra Credit

  1. Wind Jeffs are manufactured in Indonesia and cost Winged Victory Shoe Company $25 a pair to make. They are widely seen as the coolest basketball sneakers to own.
    They are listed online for sale $250 a pair.
    Tariq wants to send a clear signal to his running partners that he’s in the mix by wearing a new pair of Jeffs down to the local basketball cour
    a) If Tariq’s mom takes home $12.50 per hour after taxes, how many hours does mom have to work so that she can give Tariq enough money so that he can show-off to his friends his new pair of Wind Jeffs?
    b) What is the percentage mark-up (sales price over cost) that Winged Victory earn on each pair sold?
    c) If each year, Winged Victory sells one pair at cost to each their Indonesian workers and employee Ms. Suharto make $0.50 per hour, how many hours/must the Ms. Suharto work to afford a pair of Wind Jeffs?

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