Ancient measurements were based on:
(1) body parts, such as hands and
(2) food, such as grains of rice
Used in nearly every country in the
world, the Metric System (SI) was
devised by French scientists in the late
Did You Know?
1) The metric system is based on powers of 10 so it is much easier to
convert units, often just by moving the decimal point.
2) Once you remember the meaning of the prefixes, you can easily
convert mass, volume and distance measurements. No further
conversion factors need to be memorized except the specific power of 10.
But for the English System you have to remember 5280 ft = 1 mile, 4
quarts = 1 gallon, 3 feet = 1 yard, 16 oz. = 1 lb, etc.
3) The metric system is a international standard used by nearly all the
countries of the world. There are actually only *three* countries (i.e.
United States, Liberia and Burma) that are still using the English system.
The goal of this effort was to produce
a system that used the decimal
point rather than fractions
Also wanted a single unified system
that could be used throughout the
Meter (m)= base unit
Kilometer (km) = 1000
Centimeter (cm)= one-
hundredth of a meter
Millimeter (mm)= one-
thousandth of a meter
Gram (g) = base
Kilogram (kg) = 1000
Milligram (mg) =
one-thousandth of a
Liter (L) = base unit
Milliliter (mL) = one-
thousandth of a liter
Cubic centimeter (cm3
1 mL = 1 cm3
= 1 cc
*Volume of regular object =
use ruler L x W x H
Converting with Metric System
When converting with the
metric system it is simply a
measure of moving the
decimal in the correct
SI units are based on units
Sentence to remember:
King Henry Died in Space Drinking Chocolate
Space (meter, liter, gram)
Where is the Decimal?
What is the difference between $20 and $20.00?
A whole number always has a decimal that follows it,
even if you don’t see it!
Add the decimal to the number before you convert!
Metric Conversion Ladder
Find the spot (unit) on the ladder that has the same prefix as the measurement
you are starting with
Locate the spot on the ladder that you want to convert your number to
Count the number of steps you must move on the ladder to make your
Move the decimal in your original number this same number of steps and in the
same direction (don't forget the Base step) ( metric rap )