Posts Tagged ‘metric system’

One of the most IMPORTANT skills in science is our ability make measurements and calculations on those measurements. The metric system makes measurements and calculations EASY.


Suppose you were measuring distance using the metric system. Let’s say you started with something the size of a piece of paper, moved on to size of adult humans and onto the height of moutains. In the metric system, a piece of paper is measured in centimeters, an adult human in meters and the heights of tallest mountains can be measured in kilometers.

See anything common in the different sizes? The work METERS reappears in each one. In the metric system, the meter (abbreviated to m) is the standard measure of length. All other measurements are some multiple of the meter. A centimeter (abbreviated to cm) is 1/100 meters, which is to say, 100 centimeters equals 1 meter. A kilometer is a 1,000 meters.

A standard sheet of printing paper is 21.59 cm wide by 27.94 cm long. The average height of an adult human is about 170 cm or 1.7 m. The height of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world is 885,000 cm or 8,850 m or 8.85 km. See how easy it easy to convert from centimeters to meters to kilometers. Try doing that with inches, feet, yards and miles. It can be done but not as EASILY.

The metric system can be used to easily express the lengths, masses, and volumes of things as small as sub-atomic particles to bacteria and as large as planets, galaxies and the universe.

Interesting Fact

There are only three countries in the world which do NOT use the metric system as their standard unit of measurement. Those countries are the United States of America, Liberia and Burma. I don’t understand why they don’t, it is SO MUCH simpler.


Wikipedia article – A comprehensive article about the metric system.
National Institute of Standards and Technology – An easy to print Metric Pyramid along with some other info on the metric system.

A video of the history of measuring and an explanation of the metric system.

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