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Metric Conversions

 

The metric system or International System of Units (SI) is based on seven base units for seven base quantities that are mutually independent. The quantities are: length (meter), mass (kilogram), time (second), electric current (ampere), thermodynamic temperature (Kelvin), amount of substance (mole) and luminous intensity (candela). All other units are derived from the base ones.

 

Level 1- The Staircase Method of Conversions-

 

 

Highlight the box on the right

to reveal the answers.

500 mL= 0.500L
1600m= 1.60km
234 kg= 234,000g
5.5 cm= 0.00055hm
14 km= 1400dam
0.049 L=  49mL

Staircase method instructions-Look at the prefix you have and count how many steps you need to get to the prefix you want.

Then move the decimal that many steps and in the same direction to convert the number to the new unit.

Example  52 mm to km

starting at milli- it is 6 steps to the right to get to kilo

move the decimal six places to the left

so 52 becomes 0.000052km

Try these conversions using the staircase.  

 

 

Level 2- Metric Conversions using the Factor Label Method

Using the factor label method and NYS Reference Table C (a Prefix Table).  What you need to know is the prefix is the base unit times that factor. So when you set up the conversion just know that the factor always goes with the base unit and the unit that contains the prefix is always 1.

 

Highlight the box on the right

to reveal the answers.

600 mL= 0.600L
9,000.cm= 0.09000km

Even more metric prefixes

Prefix Symbol Factor
yotta Y 1024 = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
zetta Z 1021 = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
exa E 1018 = 1,000,000,000,000,000,000
peta P 1015 = 1,000,000,000,000,000
tera T 1012 = 1,000,000,000,000
giga G 109 = 1,000,000,000
mega M 106 = 1,000,000
kilo k 103 = 1,000
hecto h 102 = 100
deka da 101 = 10
deci d 10-1 = 0.1
centi c 10-2 = 0.01
milli m 10-3 = 0.001
micro 10-6 = 0.000,001
nano n 10-9 = 0.000,000,001
pico p 10-12 = 0,000,000,000,001
femto f 10-15 = 0.000,000,000,000,001
atto a 10-18 = 0.000,000,000,000,000,001
zepto z 10-21 = 0.000,000,000,000,000,000,001
yocto y 10-24 = 0.000,000,000,000,000,000,000,001

Power of 10 Video (2 min) Florida State University

Metric System  Metric conversions  Accuracy Precision Dimensional Analysis Scientific Notation  Significant Figures  Significant Figures in Calculations Rounding using Significant Figures Density

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