# The Maths-Classics project

## Assignment 9

### The imperial measurement system

#### The Body's Measurements

The "old" system of measuring lengths was based on various parts of the human body. For this assignment you will need a ruler, a calculator and a good dictionary.
Complete this sheet in the spaces provided.

1. FOOT

This length is the basis of the system and was the length of a human foot (! !). Measure the length of your foot, in cms, and record the answer.

Length of my foot is ............ cms.

2. INCH

Use the dictionary to find out what fraction of a foot = 1 inch, and the conversion factor for inches into cms. Use this conversion factor to calculate the length of your foot in inches. Comment on how near to a foot your foot actually is.

Fraction = .........

Conversion, 1 inch = ....... cms

Length of my foot is ...........

Comment:

....................................................................................................

There is a part of the body that is 1 inch in length. Write down what this is.

3. SPAN

The dictionary defines this as

..............................................................................................................................

..............................................................................................................................

4. HAND

This is defined as ........ inches. The width of your hand is ....... cms

.........................................................................

5. CUBIT

The definition is

..............................................................................................................................

.........................................................................

6. YARD

There are ..... feet in 1 yard

7. FATHOM

The definition is

........................................................................ .......................................................

There are ...... feet in 1 fathom, which means that the distance from

your ........ to the end of your arm should be 1 yard.

.........................................................................

When you have worked out all the measurements, you should be able to complete the following table:
12 ... = 1 ....
2 spans = 1 ....
4 ... = 1 fathom
2 yards = 1 ....

• The is also an old measurement called an ELL which was equivalent to half a fathom, being measured from the fingertips to the tip of the nose! Why would ells have been useful for measuring lengths of cloth?
• Noah built the ark using only body measurements - no rulers or other instruments. You can now use the same system to build a shed, fit a carpet, put up shelves ...