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Measuring Temperature

Adapted from K12Reader; from https://www.k12reader.com/worksheet/measuring-temperature/view/

The thermometer is the most common tool for measuring temperature. Many thermometers use two different temperature scales: Fahrenheit and Celsius. You may have wondered how they relate to each other. Both scales were invented in the 1700s and are named after their inventors.

The Fahrenheit scale was invented by Gabriel Fahrenheit. He set the boiling point for water at 212º, and the freezing point at 32º. Temperatures are measured all along the scale, much like a number line or ruler. The unit of measurement for temperature is a degree, instead of an inch on a ruler.

Anders Celsius invented the Celsius scale after the Fahrenheit scale. He kept Fahrenheit’s anchor points. The anchor points are the temperatures at which water would freeze or boil. Celsius however, changed the numbers of his temperature scale. Under the Celsius scale, water freezes at 0º and boils at 100º. This numbering scale has been adopted for most scientific purposes. It works well with the metric system.

Many thermometers work because liquid changes its volume, or the amount of space it takes up, based on its temperature. When a liquid is cold, it takes up less space than it does when it is warm.

Many of the changes in temperature are very small. Thermometers use a large bulb fi led with liquid and a very narrow tube to show the changes. The markings on the thermometer are based on the freezing point and boiling point of water. Why? Because Gabriel Fahrenheit chose them as conditions that are easy to recreate. Anders Celsius agreed. Sometimes, inventors set the standard for everyone.

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