Math Tools- Chapters 9-12

Chapter 9- Directional Measurements

Add heading (22)The basic formula for time, rate, and distance problems is the same even when the components get switched around. It is important to keep the units of measurement the same when working with these problems. It is also important to know the difference between speed and velocity. Speed measures how fast something is going while velocity also indicates its direction. As a reporter, you will need to only e interested in calculating speed. To find the average speed, you need to divide the average distance traveled by the time it took to get there.

Mass is a measure of amount. Weight is a measure of the force of gravity pulling on an object. Momentum is the force necessary to stop an object from moving.

Momentum = mass x velocity


Sarah Johnson was covering a local town race for The Daily Tribune. The cars traveled a 30-mile course. The winner made it in 45 minutes. What was his average speed?

45 minutes= .75 of an hour

Average speed = 30/.75 = 40 miles per hour

Chapter 10- Area Measurements

Knowing how to explain area measurements is vital for journalists. There are two methods to explain measurements. One is by analogy and the other is by using numbers.


Perimeter = (2 x length) + (2 x width)       

Area = length x width

The radius of a circle is the distance from any edge to the middle. Knowing the radius is key to finding the circumference. To find the circumference, multiply 2 and pi with the radius.

Example: The city of Raleigh has created a new garden in Falls Lake park that has two sides measuring 15 feet, one side measuring 10, and the other side measuring 12 What is the perimeter of this garden?

A = 15 + 15 + 10 + 12 = 52

Chapter 11- Volume Measurements

Add heading (21).jpgVolume measurements play a key in a variety of articles. Liquid measurements apply to liquids in recipes, bodies of water and other fluids. In order to find a formula for the volume, one needs to multiply length times width time times height.

When dealing with tons, make sure to know the different types of tons:

  •  A short ton is equal to 2,000 pounds
  • A long ton, also known as a British ton, is equal to 2,240 pounds
  • A metric ton is equal to 1,000 kilograms, or 2204.62 pounds

Example: What is the volume of a box that is 13 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 6 inches tall?

A = 13 x 5 x 6 = 390 cubic inches

Chapter 12- The Metric System

The metric system is an important part of international commerce and science. The international decimal-based metric system is based on multiples of 10. Every measurement uses standard language for each level (giga, mega, milli, micro, etc.) Once you learn the language, it becomes easy to use.

Basic definitions and facts of the metric system:

  • The meter is the basic unit of length
  • Mass is also derived from the meter
  • The metric unit of force is the Newton
  • Volume traces its origins to the cubic decimeter
  • The unit names used are meter (length), gram (mass) and liter (volume)

Make sure to know how to convert measurements to American and vice versa.

There are also style rules that should be used when dealing with the metric system. Make sure to know how to write the names of units, symbols, and prefixes. A space is used between the number and the symbol to which it refers. If a hyphen is used, write out the name of the metric quantity with the hyphen between the numeral and the quantity. Do not use a period with metric unit names and symbols except at the end of a sentence. The dot or period is used as the decimal point within numbers. In numbers less than one, zero should be written before the decimal point.

Example: The Elon running club announced that it would sponsor a 6 km run to raise funds for their competition in Georgia. Convert the kilometers to miles.

A = 6 x 0.62 = 3.72 miles




Author: diegopineda12

Journalism major at Elon University. Photo Editor of Elon News Network. Producer for Etalk.

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