Have You Met Ric?
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SubjectMetric system -- Conversion tables.; Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Middle school).; Mathematics -- Problems, exercises, etc.; Math Teachers -- Training of.
This research explores misconceptions about metric conversion and the difficulties behind metric unit estimation. It was believed that middle school students would be able to convert from a large to a small metric unit more accurately than converting from a small to a large metric unit. Furthermore, it was also hypothesized that middle school students would be able to estimate units smaller than a meter more accurately than units of a meter or larger. During the study, students completed a ten-problem assessment containing conversion and estimation questions. The assessment was generated by studying past New York state exams. After the assessment, students completed a six-question follow-up survey. The results of the study indicated that students struggle with conversion questions regardless of the direction of the conversion. Additional results revealed that students were more accurate when they converted linear distances versus volume and capacity; students could estimate units smaller than a meter more accurately than units of a meter or larger, and there was no significant difference in the accuracy of estimation based on grade level. These results pose multiple implications for teachers. Educators need to be prepared to spend equal amounts of time teaching different types of conversions and educators need to find more time to teach and practice estimation during everyday activities.