spence11 wrote:

Why doesn't converting the area to square inches and then converting from inches to miles work?

\((\frac{7}{16})^2=\frac{49}{256}\)

\(\frac{49}{256}*\frac{22}{7}=\frac{77}{128}\)

\(\frac{77}{12}*2\approx1.2\)

I chose 1.3 because it's the closest answer, but obviously the conversion to miles needs to happen before calculating the area. Why does this matter, and is there a decent framework to do conversions of this sort that involve squaring and cubing? This seems to pop up often, and I find it slightly confusing. Thanks!

SR

spence11 , these problems confuse me too, sometimes, just not on this front. It's a scale factor issue.

"

~~...converting~~ finding the area

~~to~~ in square inches and then converting from inches to miles [does not] work" because you are not converting from inches to miles. You need to convert square inches (in the area you found for the pond on the photo) to square miles.

The scale factor here is (2 miles: 1 inch) = 2. When converting an

area, you have to use the scale factor, \(k\), twice. Area conversion requires \(k^2\) because the area of any two dimensional figure, circles included, is length times length. To convert area from one unit to another, what you do to one length (scale it up), you must do to the other.

You chose the correct scale factor of 2. But you need to multiply the area you found by \(k^2\) = \(2^2\) = 4. You are short one factor of \(k\). Close!

(\(\frac{77}{128}\) * 4) = \(\frac{77}{32}\) = 2.4 (sq mi - see below)

Here is one way to look at it:

\(\frac{1 in}{2 mi}\) -- those are one-dimensional lengths. Lines.

Convert them to two-dimensional areas by squaring the number and the unit:

(1 in)\(^2\) = (1 in)*(1 in) = 1 square inch, or 1 in\(^2\)

(2 mi)\(^2\) = (2 mi)(2 mi) = 4 square miles, or 4mi\(^2\). Below, area in square inches is converted to area in square miles. Square inches cancel, leaving square miles as the desired result, but only because I multiply the original area by the scale factor twice:

\(\frac{77}{128}(in*in)\) * \(\frac{2mi}{1in}\) * \(\frac{2mi}{1in}\) = \(\frac{77}{32}\)(mi*mi) =

2.4 miles\(^2\)

So for any conversion from

area to

area: if you find the original

area in small units, multiply that area by the scale factor

squared to get the larger actual area.

Bunuel sidestepped the whole issue by multiplying

one length (radius in inches) by

one scale factor (2) to get [another]

one length: the radius in miles. Then he found the area in square miles with normal calculations for a circle's area.

Length: multiply by one scale factor \(k\)

Area: multiply by two scale factors \(k^2\)

Volume: multiply by three scale factors \(k^3\) (b/c V = L * L * L)

It depends on the problem, but often it is easier to convert one length of the smaller figure to one length of the larger figure (here, radius), and then calculate area or volume. If you do it that way, you only deal with the scale factor once: length --> length.

Hope that helps.

_________________

The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance.

-- Albert Einstein