Answers to Questions about Measurement Systems

The following answers are brief and intended as guidelines only. Student answers may vary with the sources they use.

1.   The ancient Hebrew hin is equal to how many liters?

ANS: 3.7 liters

2.   Which of the basic Roman numerals are most frequently used today?

ANS: I = 1 V = 5 X = 10 L = 50 C = 100 D = 500 M = 1000

3.   On what were the first units of measurement, such as the cubit, based?

ANS: Parts of the human body; the cubit was derived from the length of the arm from elbow to fingertip.

4.   How was the meter first defined?

ANS: It was one ten-millionth part of a quarter of the earth's circumference.

5.   What is the Paris point used to measure?

ANS: European shoe sizes.

6.   What is absolute zero on the Celsius scale?

ANS: - (minus) 273.15 degrees.

7.   The first Egyptian calendar was based on a lunar cycle. Then it was abandoned. On what was the new calendar based?

ANS: The fact that the "Dog Star" in Canis Major, which we call Sirius, rose next to the sun every 365 days, about when the annual inundation of the Nile began.

8.   What does the legendary hero Hercules have to do with the Greek measurement system?

ANS: According to legend, the unit of measure we call a foot was based on the length of Hercules' foot.

9.   What is a witness tree?

ANS: Generally used in the U.S. public land states, this refers to a tree close to a section corner. The surveyor blazed them and noted their position relative to the corner in his notebook. Witness trees are used as evidence for the corner location.

10.   When were mechanical clocks first invented?

ANS: In the first half of the 14th century.