SI Unit Conversion and Using Scale – Activity and Project

The first activity aims to practice using a scale on a map and converting metric (SI) units.

Students use rulers to measure a distance on the map in centimeters, then use the scale on the map to find the true distance (in cm), and finally convert the measurement to kilometers.

The second activity/project challenges students to build a model of a house. Students choose one of 3 options (each with 4 dimensions of a basic house) and create a scale. The scale is used then to size down the house and create the model out of cardboard or construction paper. This project takes approximately 3-4 class periods to complete; students often struggle with initial calculations and determining a workable scale but with practice become much more comfortable with the process.

Rita Mikita has been a ninth-grade physics teacher at MC2STEM High School for five years, also serving as the school’s science department head. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a 7–12 integrated science license from Baldwin Wallace University. She loves exploring her students’ curiosities and creativity, bringing science to life in her classroom through inquiry and project-based learning. Rita partners with local organizations like NASA Glenn Research Center and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to bring unique experiences to her students, exposing them to the many exciting scientific opportunities the region has to offer. Rita lives in Cleveland with her husband and son, and enjoys spending time in her neighborhood, cooking, and camping.