How big is an Acre? How much is inside other stuff?

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How big is an acre? It is, of course, 4046.9 square meters, although that 0.9 is shorthand for 0.8726… if you’re surveying in the USA and shorthand for 0.8564… if you’re not. But how big is that? If the answer of “four roods” doesn’t help you, then a popular comparison is that it is about 3/4 of a football field:


Created by Xyzzy n and posted under GNU Free Documentation License

It was in searching for a visual description of an acre that I ran across the great site How Much is Inside? (with translations into Arabic, Dutch, German, Spanish, and Swedish). Rob Cockerham and his crack team of reporters tackle all sorts of questions about non-standard measurement. For example,

As a bonus, there’s a Science Club which does fun things like drop toast to see if it usually lands butter side down and dissect Hot Pockets. Hooray for science!

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5 Responses to “How big is an Acre? How much is inside other stuff?”

  1. samjshah Says:

    Oh, gold in Goldschlader… good question that I can’t believe I haven’t thought of…

    But I recently learned about http://www.sensibleunits.com which helps makes sense of various units — and I love it. So if you type “! acre” you get:

    9.3 basketball courts.
    7.4 football penalty areas.
    2.2 ice hockey rinks.
    0.81 hockey fields.

    As someone who knows nothing about sports, most of them don’t make sense… but the BB courts makes sense. And seriously? 9.3 basketball courts can fit in less than 1 hockey field? I’m so confused. Is a hockey rink so huge? But I like the site — it can deal with bytes, leagues, and Kobe Bryants. Seriously.

  2. jd2718 Says:

    cute – but the problem is real – most of the units we use are beyond the immediate grasp of our students and colleagues.

    plus the stories are funny.

  3. Ξ Says:

    One of the best pieces of advice I read (from the I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken, which is a great read as well as containing some fine recipes) is that each person should find something they know well that is about 1 unit of [whatever]. For example, a paper clip is about 1 gram, a cheerio is just a little bigger than 1 cm, a big grape is about 1 inch, etc.

  4. Lambchop Says:

    My highschool friend back in the ’50’s had a teacher who took all the kids outside, and they marked off an acre, so that all could really visualize it. I’ve always regretted I never experienced that event!

  5. Paul Moeller Says:

    HOW BIG IS A GERMAN ACKER COMPARED TO THE U.S. ACRE

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