How is temperature measured?

Learn everything you need to know about temperature, the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius and their conversion

headshot of author Tess Loucka

Author
Tess Loucka

Published
November 1, 2023

How is temperature measured?

Learn everything you need to know about temperature, the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius and their conversion

headshot of author Tess Loucka

Author
Tess Loucka

Published
Nov 1, 2023

How is temperature measured?

Learn everything you need to know about temperature, the difference between Fahrenheit and Celsius and their conversion

headshot of author Tess Loucka

Author
Tess Loucka

Published
Nov 1, 2023

Key takeaways

  • Temperature is the heat present in an object and is created by kinetic energy, or the movement of atoms
  • Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Kelvin are the three common scales used to measure temperature
  • Use the formula  C = (F-32) x 5/9  to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, and the formula F = (C x 9/5) + 32 to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit

Temperature has always existed. However, the way we’ve measured it has changed throughout history.

In fact, the temperature wasn’t measured at all for most of human history. People were too preoccupied with wars, famines and world exploration to create tools for measuring temperature. 

When modern scientists look back at history and wonder what the temperature was like before written records, they often look at the rings in tree trunks. Large rings correspond to warm, temperate weather, while small rings may correspond to cold, harsh weather. 

Once the thermometer was invented in 1654 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand II, measuring temperature became a lot easier! In 1709, Ferdinand’s thermometer was updated by Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit. His version of the thermometer is still commonly used today!

Temperature is something that we are always aware of. When we check the weather app on our phones to see how hot it will be, or step outside to check if we’ll need a jumper or a T-shirt, we’re really checking the temperature.

Understanding temperature is necessary for daily life, but what does temperature measure? And how is temperature measuredLet’s take a look! 

What does temperature measure?

The temperature definition is the heat present in an object as measured by a thermometer or felt by touch.

Anything made up of atoms has a temperature – and atoms make up everything! 

When atoms move, they produce kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is what creates temperature. Atoms that move faster produce more kinetic energy and therefore create a higher temperature. 

Atoms moving slower produce less kinetic energy and a lower temperature. 

When using a thermometer, temperature will be expressed as a number. It will be an exact measurement according to either the Fahrenheit, Celsius or Kelvin scales. 

Temperature can be expressed in descriptive words, too, such as cold, cool, warm, or hot. Describing temperature with words is how we express our perception of temperature. However, the words used may vary from person to person. 

Temperature is something you will experience every day of your life, so it is important to understand it and be able to measure it! Let’s go over how we can measure temperature.

What are the temperature units of measurement?

As was mentioned earlier, there are three temperature units: Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Kelvin.

Fahrenheit is the common measuring system in the US, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Palau and Belize. Practically every other country in the world uses Celsius. 

Fahrenheit was the scale invented first by Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit in 1724. By the 1960s and 70s, it was replaced in most parts of the world by the Celsius scale which simplified the measurements and used a metric system that was more accessible to the general public.

Today, both are common forms of temperature measurement.

Kelvin is the least common scale and is used almost exclusively in the world of science. It’s one of the Si units for temperature. 

  • Fahrenheit measures the freezing point of water at 32 degrees. The boiling point is 212 degrees.
  • Celsius measures the freezing point of water at 0 degrees. The boiling point is 100 degrees.
  • Kelvin measures the freezing point of water at 273.1 K. The boiling point is 373.1 K. 

Explore measurement with DoodleMaths

Meet DoodleMaths, the award-wining maths app that’s proven to double a child’s rate of progression with just 10 minutes of use a day!

Filled with fun, interactive questions, it creates each child a unique work programme tailored to their needs, boosting their confidence and skills in the subject. Try it for free!

for families

How to convert farenheit to celsius

Since Fahrenheit and Celsius are such common scales of measurement for temperature, it’s important to be able to convert from one scale to the other.

To convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius, you’ll need to use the formula C = (F-32) x 5/9  

Using the formula, how would we convert 98 degrees F into Celsius? 

C = (98-32) x 5/9

C = (66) x 5/9

C = 330/9

C = 33.67

So, 98 degrees Fahrenheit is the same as 33.67 degrees Celsius. 

To convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit, use the formula F = (C x 9/5) + 32

 

How many degrees Fahrenheit is 14 degrees Celsius? 

F = (14 x 9/5) + 32

F = (14 x 1.8) + 32

F = (25.2) + 32

F = 57.2

So, 14 degrees Celsius is the same as 57.2 degrees Fahrenheit. 

For more practice with temperature conversion, you can find practice problems, instructions, and clear solutions on math websites or math apps. A good math resource can put you ahead of the curve when it comes to complex topics.

Measuring temperature questions

Click on the boxes below to see the answers!

Answer: 38.89 degrees Celsius

Use the Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion equation, C = (F-32) x 5/9. C = (102-32) x 5/9. C = (70) x 5/9. C = 350/9. C = 38.89. 

Answer: 370.4 degrees Fahrenheit

Use the Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion equation,  F = (C x 9/5) + 32. F = (188 x 9/5) + 32. F = (188 x 1.8) + 32. F = 338.4 + 32. F = 370.4. 

Answer: The temperature changed by 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit

Convert both 18 degrees Celsius and 25 degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit using the Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion equation. Then subtract the smaller number from the larger number to find the answer. When converting to Fahrenheit, 18 C becomes 64.4 F, and 25 C becomes 77 F. The difference between them is 12.6.

FAQs about temperature measurement

Temperature is measured using a thermometer.

To convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, the formula is C = (F-32) x 5/9.

Group 208

Try DoodleMaths for free!

Lesson credits

headshot of author Tess Loucka

Tess Loucka

Tess Loucka discovered her passion for writing in school and has not stopped writing since. Combined with her love of numbers, she became a maths and English tutor,. Since graduating, her goal has been to use her writing to spread knowledge and the joy of learning to readers of all ages.

headshot of author Tess Loucka

Tess Loucka

Tess Loucka discovered her passion for writing in school and has not stopped writing since. Combined with her love of numbers, she became a maths and English tutor,. Since graduating, her goal has been to use her writing to spread knowledge and the joy of learning to readers of all ages.

Related posts

What do AM and PM stand for?

Learn the difference between AM and PM and how important they are

How to calculate elapsed time

We explore examples of odd and even numbers from 1 to 100

How to read and use a ruler

Learn how to read different kinds of ruler with our step-by-step guide

Login

Are you a parent, teacher or student?

Get started for free!

Are you a parent or teacher?

Maths information pack

We ask for your contact info so we can send our info pack directly to your inbox for your convenience

Exam prep information pack

We ask for your contact info so we can send our info pack directly to your inbox for your convenience

Case studies information pack

We ask for your contact info so we can send our info pack directly to your inbox for your convenience

Information pack

We ask for your contact info so that our Education Consultants can get in touch with you and let you know a bit more about Doodle.

Student Login

Which programme would you like to use?

If you’d like to use Doodle’s browser version, please visit this page on a desktop.

To log in to Doodle on this device, you can do so through our apps. You can find out how to download them here: