Video: Understanding Temperature

Which is colder, 42°F or 60°F?

02:19

Video Transcript

Which is colder, 42 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees Fahrenheit?

We’re given two temperatures in this problem. We know that they’re temperatures because the unit of measurement that we can see is degrees F. This stands for degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s a way of measuring temperature. If we look at a thermometer, it will often show degrees F. This shows the number of degrees Fahrenheit that something is. The further up the thermometer we go, the larger the number of degrees. Our question is interesting. It doesn’t ask us, which is the larger number? It asks us which is colder, 42 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees Fahrenheit?

To be able to answer this question, we need to understand a little bit about how thermometers work and how we measure temperature. The level of the liquid inside the thermometer changes as the temperature gets hotter, and as the temperature gets colder. Let’s label our thermometer to help us remember that as we move up the scale, we move from colder to hotter. In other words, a larger number of degrees Fahrenheit is hotter than a smaller number of degrees Fahrenheit.

In this question, we’re asked to compare 42 degrees Fahrenheit and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Let’s increase the temperature to show 42 degrees. It’s probably about here. Now, let’s continue increasing the temperature until we get to 60 degrees, which is there. We can say that 60 degrees Fahrenheit is hotter than 42 degrees Fahrenheit. So if we look at this the other way, we can say which temperature is colder. 42 degrees Fahrenheit is colder than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

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