I’ve never understood why the US still uses the Imperial system for measurements. It’s not like metric is a fad or something only third world countries use,. Heck, it’s been around since 1795 (France being the official first adopters) and it took another 29 years until a second country made it official (Portugal), but it’s here to stay.
From my limited research (thanks wikipedia!) it looks like there are only three countries left not using metric (and I one of them is in the process of converting). In this case it does make sense to do it because everyone else is (it’s not like we’d be jumping off a bridge or anything).
All the cool physics and chemistry equations use metric (other sciences may as well, but I am unfamiliar with them). So for students to understand when they drop a 50 lb anvil on one side of the lever from 20 ft up they first have to convert Imperial to metric, do all the equations, then convert the result back to understand how high the ball on the other side will fly up into the are.
Similarly, understanding the factors is much easier (it’s base ten, like the number of fingers most of us have) especially as everything uses the base unit type in its name – e.g. meter vs. inch, foot, mile; or liter vs. teaspoon, ounce, cup, gallon; etc. I’ll admit, I always had a difficult time remembering the prefixes, but that was because outside of class I didn’t use them (and I didn’t study much in grade school). Until you took physics or chemistry in high school when did you ever use nano, micro, milli, centi, kilo, mega, giga, etc.? I’ll tell you… never (in the late ’80s and early ’90s).
Plus, this could actually spur the economy, too. Speed limit signs, cook books, blueprints, clothing tags, thermometers, ovens, the beloved wooden measuring sticks, among other things would all have to be redone (no one would be forced to buy everything new, that’s not the point or practical).
I’m not saying we need to start driving on the left side of the road, that’s just plain stupid. But going metric would make the world a slightly easier place to live. I know a bunch of [phone] apps might lose out on this conversion, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
Take away: When I said ‘I didn’t study much in grade school’ what I meant was ‘I didn’t study much in school.’