Teaching Metrics in the Foreign Language Class*


  • Daniel Franzblau

  • Daniel M. Franzblau (Ph.D., Miami University) is Associate Professor of Foreign Language Education at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

  • *

    Adapted from a paper presented at a Central States Conference and published by National Textbook Company, Daniel Franzblau, “Metric Shock” Teaching for Tomorrow, Ed. Reid E. Baker, Skokie, Illinois, National Textbook Company, 1978.


ABSTRACT The metric system, a product of French genius during the Revolution, spread throughout the world as a mode of quantitative communication, but today is conspicuously absent in U.S. foreign language preparation programs and rarely observed in U.S. foreign language classrooms. It is the purpose of this article to suggest metric activities which foreign language professionals might incorporate into teacher preparation programs at the higher education level and into learning experiences for all foreign language students in public schools. Five activity stations help students estimate and then verify, through the use of metric instruments, the measurement of length, volume, weight, area, and temperature. At each station, appropriate metric vocabulary in the target language enhances the activity. A pretest/posttest in English helps language students and their teachers in public schools gather evidence of progress toward the attainment of metric goals and objectives. Teacher candidates and inservice teachers can also take a pretest/posttest in French, Spanish, or German for the same purpose.