SI Metric-Matters

Cross-curricular Activities for Schools

Philip Bladon with a Dictionary of International Units
photo courtesy BDC PHOTOGRAPHY   +44 07875100880

Cross-curricular Activity: Science/Mathematics/History/Presentation Skills.

This activity, which can also be extended to cover other subjects, for example languages, is based on a section in A Dictionary Of International Units, by Philip Bladon.

Symbols For Scientists

Students should tabulate the information in a similar way as shown in the book. Students should add an extra column as shown in the example below.

Teachers might prefer to prepare a worksheet for this. One line of this is shown below ; ‘hertz’ is used as an example.






Born - Died

Age when died




Use the details in the book

Heinrich Rudolf

 1857 - 1894



EXERCISE:  Some possible questions:


Students prepare a scale with linear divisions.

Graph paper (Landscape format) can be used.
Alternatively, a one or two metre long piece of paper could be used. This is ideal for a display on a classroom wall.

The scale should start at YEAR 1600 and end at the YEAR 2000:

blank timeline 


Present the Scientists on a time-line. Two have been done as an example.  This example is NOT to scale

timeline including scientists 

Different coloured lines could be used for the different nationalities.
Students may have difficulties like trying to present all the 19 scientists neatly on a small piece of paper.

EXERCISE: Use the information presented in the timeline to answer questions:
Prepare suitable questions
Name the Scientist(s) who were alive in  ……… ?

There may be too much to do in one lesson, this activity could be part of a school’s work for a National Science Week.

©Philip Bladon 2005


SI Units – Famous Scientists

Surname Unit Symbol
Henry henry H
Tesla tesla T
Surname Unit Symbol
Faraday farad F
Gray gray Gy
Joule   joule  J
Lord Kelvin kelvin     K
Newton   newton N
Watt watt W
Surname Unit Symbol
Ampere ampere A
Becquerel  becquerel  Bq
Coulomb  coulomb C
Pascal pascal Pa
Surname Unit Symbol
Hertz hertz Hz
Ohm  ohm Ω
Siemens  siemens S
Weber  weber Wb
Surname Unit Symbol
Volta volt  V
Surname Unit Symbol
Celsius degree Celsius °C
Sievert sievert Sv

Not just a unit used in Physics!

“One over  henry”,   “henry under one”.  

Unit :  1/henry             Symbol:    1/H

Used by some people to describe an individual who does not want to adopt  the SI / Metric System of Units.