Length - Metric System

The metric system was developed during the French Revolution. Thomas Jefferson promoted it in the United States, but the system was not legalized until 1866. In 1902 Congress voted to require the United States Government to use the only the Metric System. The vote was defeated by one vote.

The metric system is much easier to use than the Customary System, because you do not have to remember different conversions such as 12 inches equal a foot, 3 feet equal a  yard, and so on.  All you have to remember is a list of prefixes that represent powers of 10.

 

Prefix 

milli

centi

deci

meter 

deka

hecto 

kilo

Abbreviation

m

c

d

m

d k

h

k

Example

milliliter

centimeter

decimeter

meter

dekameter

hectometer

kilometer

Multiplier

0.001

0.01

0.1

1

10 100

1000

 

The hardest thing is to get the feel of units the Metric System uses. How big is a centimeter? a meter? and so on? The chart below will help you.

millimeter - mm centimeter -cm decimeter - dm meter - m kilometer - km
  1 centimeter =
10 millimeters
1 decimeter =
10 centimeters
1 meter =
10 decimeters
1 kilometers =
1000 meters
money.gif (2511 bytes)
The edge of a dime is approximately 1 millimeter.
clip.jpg (3163 bytes)
A paperclip is approximately 1 centimeter wide.
crayon.gif (1186 bytes)
A crayon is approximately 1 decimeter long.
door.gif (3245 bytes)
The distance from the floor to the door knob is approximately 1 meter.
city.gif (17407 bytes)
The length of 6 city blocks is  approximately 1 kilometer long.


Now that you know the basics you can go to practice activity for metric length.  

More Practice from Other Sites

FunBrain Site

AAA Math

Measurement and Frogs 

Metric Scavenger Hunt