Have you ever wondered what the temperature is at the top of the highest mountains in Alaska. Or how hot it is in the middle of the Sahara desert? How can we measure these temperatures? Do you think every country measures them the same way?
Temperature can be expressed using a temperature scale, which allows us to measure and quantify how hot or cold something is. The scale most frequently used around the world is the Celsius scale. It’s used in daily life, at home, at school, or at work. Another well-known scale is the Fahrenheit scale, although it’s only used in four countries (the United States, the Bahamas, Belize, and the Cayman Islands).
We use these temperature scales to measure, for example, the temperature outside and decide whether or not we need to wear a coat. It also helps us to know how hot the oven should be when we’re baking a cake!
Let’s take a look at the main differences between the two:
Celsius Scale: degrees Celsius
The Celsius scale is used in the vast majority of countries around the world. The creator of this scale was Anders Celsius, a Swiss scientist and astronomer. This scale was also known as the “centigrade scale” until 1948. This was because this scale divides the temperature into 100 degrees, 0º C being the freezing point of water, and 100º C being the point at which it boils.
During winter we often see temperatures below 0, and the scale might show temperatures between -2 and -10 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, the temperatures increase in spring and summer, and thermometers show temperatures higher than 10 degrees Celsius.
Fahrenheit scale: degrees Fahrenheit
As we’ve seen, the Fahrenheit scale is the accepted form of measuring temperature in the US and some Caribbean countries. Its creator was called Daniel Fahrenheit, and he was a well-known German physicist and engineer. Unlike the Celsius scale, this scale puts the freezing point of water at 32º F while its boiling point is 212º F.
Therefore, when it’s very cold during the winter in the United States, the thermometers might show temperatures between 28 and 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-2º and -10º Celsius). Meanwhile, during spring and summer, average temperatures are between 50 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (10º and 20º Celsius). This doesn’t mean that temperatures are higher or lower when measured on this type of scale, it just means that the same temperature is represented using different numbers.
If you want to learn more about temperature scales, and work on exercises involving them and many other mathematical concepts, log in to Smartick and practice with us!
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