# How to figure out metric conversions

Conversion between metric units

That's all there is to metric conversions. As long as you keep the prefixes straight and remember where in the sequence the "units" name goes, you'll be fine. Just count the number of jumps and note the direction; then move the decimal point the same direction and the same number of places. Convert among units for any base unit of measure such as gram or meter or second or byte, etc. For example, if you want to convert from meters to micrometers you would convert from "base unit" to micro. Likewise, if you want to convert from grams to micrograms or feet to microfeet you would still do a conversion from base unit to micro.

Metric units are very nice to work with, since they are all multiples of ten or a hundred, or one-tenth, etc of each other. You can convert between the various different sizes by merely moving the decimal point the correct number of places. The basic metric units are meters for lengthfolded paper star ornament how to for mass or weightand liters for volume.

And the different units convert into one another rather nicely, with one milliliter equalling one cubic centimeter the "cc" of medical shows donversions television and one gram being the weight of one cc metricc water.

Metric Unit Conversions. There how to get new ip many metric-unit prefixes, but the usual ones ffigure in school are these: kilo- hecto- deka- deci- centi- and milli. To convert between the various prefixes, and thus the variously-sized units, you just move up and down this list of prefixes, moving the decimal point as you go. The first letters of the words stand for the prefixes, with "Usually" in the middle standing for the "unit", being meters, grams, or liters.

Many memory phrases omit the "Usually", and consequently students forget where the basic unit how to figure out metric conversions, messing up their conversions. Leave the "Usually" in there so you can keep things straight:. Since each step is ten times or one-tenth as much as the step on either side, we have:.

The point here is that conversioons move severe bleeding what to do one prefix to the next by moving the decimal point one place, and filling in, converxions necessary, with zeroes.

To move to a smaller unit a unit with a prefix some number of places further to converskons right in the listingyou move the decimal place to the right that same number of places, and vice versa. Together with the prefix sentence "King Henry It's five jumps, to the right. So I move the decimal point five places to the right, filling in the ho space with zeroes:. You don't have to make a loopy arrow like I did, but the loops help you keep track of the steps that you're counting, and make it really easy to see where to add the zeroes, if you need to.

In this case, after moving the decimal point and adding the zeroes, I get:. Okay, to it's five jumps again, but this time they're to the left. So I move the decimal point five hoe to the left, filling in the empty spots after the decimal point with zeroes:.

That's all there is to metric conversions. As long as you keep the prefixes straight and remember where in the sequence the "units" name goes, you'll be fine. Just count the number of jumps and note the direction; then move the decimal point the same direction and the same number of places.

All right reserved. Web Vonversions by. Skip to main content. Content Continues Below. How many jumps is it from "kilo-" to "centi-"? Convfrsions count off:. How many jumps is it from "milli-" to "hecto-"? Let's count off:. Share This Page. Terms of Use Privacy Contact.

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A conversion factor is a number that is used to change one set of units to another, either by multiplying or by dividing. An appropriate conversion factor makes calculation quick and easy. For example, the appropriate conversion value, to convert inches to feet, is 12 inches = 1 foot. How to Memorize Metric Conversion Tables? All you need to make a click on the tab for which you want to perform measurements conversion Very next, you ought to select the unit from the left drop down box for which you want to convert from and enter the value of this selected unit into the given field.

Last Updated: July 30, References Approved. To create this article, 59 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.

This article has 15 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed , times. Learn more The metric system is a comprehensive system of measurements used in almost all of the world today, the only exception being that of the United States, who uses a different form of standard measurement.

One of the biggest advantages that the metric system offers is that conversion between its units is simple, as its units scale by powers of Because of this, converting within metric measurements is usually as easy as multiplying or dividing a given measurement by a power of 10 to find the new value, or, as a shortcut, simply moving its decimal point.

Read on below the jump for detailed instructions. Remember, millimeters as a unit of measurement are times smaller than centimeters. Try another answer Not exactly! Millimeters are smaller than centimeters by a factor of Try again As a unit of measurement, millimeters are times smaller than centimeters.

So if Barbara is centimeters tall, multiply by This nets you a final answer of mm! Read on for another quiz question. Not quite! Remember, millimeters are only times smaller than centimeters, not times smaller. Choose another answer! Joseph drives , decimeters to and from work every day. How many decimal points would you have to move, and in which direction, to find out how many kilometers Joseph drives?

Definitely not! Remember, kilometers are much larger units of measurement than decimeters. Click on another answer to find the right one Kilometers are 10, times larger a unit of measurement than decimeters, meaning you move the decimal 4 spaces to the left.

This means Joseph drives 60 kilometers to work each day. Kilometers are 10, times larger a unit of measurement than decimeters. Being single decimal points off on a measurement can make your answer off by magnitudes of thousands, so pay attention to placement! Guess again! Write the prefixes down on a line, where kilo is the largest unit and milli is the smallest. To convert between the prefixes, find your starting point, then divide by 10 for every space you move to the left, or multiply by 10 for each unit you move to the right.

For instance, 1 gram would be equal to 10 decigrams, centigrams, or milligrams. Keep reading to learn a useful mnemonic to help you remember the order of the prefixes! Did this summary help you? Yes No. Log in Social login does not work in incognito and private browsers. Please log in with your username or email to continue.

No account yet? Create an account. Edit this Article. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. By using our site, you agree to our cookie policy. Cookie Settings. Learn why people trust wikiHow. Download Article Explore this Article methods. Metric Cheat Sheet.

Tips and Warnings. Related Articles. Article Summary. Support wikiHow and unlock all samples. Method 1 of Learn the most common metric prefixes. The metric system has a variety of units of measurement - you have probably heard of meters which measure distance and grams which measure mass , etc. These base units are sometimes either too small or too large to make practical measurements. In these cases, it's necessary to use units that differ from the base units by a power of 10 - in other words, measurements that are 10 times larger or smaller, times larger or smaller, and so on.

In these cases, we add prefixes to the name of the unit to signify how much bigger or smaller it is than the base unit. The first letter of each word corresponds to a basic metric prefix, in order of largest to smallest, except for the "U" in "Until", which corresponds to "unit," or the metric base units meter, liter, etc. List the prefixes on a line.

If you're unfamiliar with metric units, it can be helpful to list the metric prefixes on a line in order of largest to smallest.

Put "Kilo" at the far left end of the line and "Milli" at the far right end. In the middle of the scale, between "Deca" and "Deci," put the base unit of the dimension you're measuring. In other words, if you're measuring distance, write "meter," if you're measuring volume, write "liter," and so on. This line gives you a simple visual reference for how your units relate - whether the units you want are larger or smaller than the units you have, and how much larger or smaller they are.

Determine whether the units you want are larger or smaller than the units you have. Look at your line of prefixes. Find the prefix that corresponds with the units you took your initial measurement in.

Next, find your desired units. Are they to the right or to the left of your initial units? If they are to the right, you are converting from a larger unit into a smaller one. If they are to the left, you are going from a smaller unit to a larger one. On our line of prefixes, we would see that "centi" is to the right of "kilo".

Since our desired units are to the right of our initial units, we know we're converting from a large unit into a smaller unit. Determine the numerical relationship between the units you have and the units you want. Metric units of measurement differ by powers of 10 - 10, , 1,, and so on. Thus, converting from one metric unit to another is always accomplished by multiplying or dividing your initial measurement by the appropriate power of ten.

Look at the arrow you've drawn from the units you have - the units your measurement has been taken in - to the units you want to convert to. The number of spaces under your arrow gives the power of ten by which your two units are related. In other words, centimeters are , times or 10 5 , etc. Thus, you know that there are , centimeters in 1 kilometer. For "large to small" conversions, multiply by the appropriate power of ten. Converting from a large unit to a smaller unit means you should multiply your original measurement by the amount that its units differ from the desired final units.

Remember that this number should be a power of ten given by the number of spaces under the arrow you drew in the steps above. Sometimes, especially in schoolwork, it's not enough to simply give the correct number. You'll also be asked to show how you converted your initial unit label to its final form. The units in the denominator will cancel with the units of your initial measurement, leaving your answer in terms of your desired units. In our kilometer race example, we would simply multiply 10 our initial measurement in kilometers by 10 5 or , - the number of centimeters in a kilometer.

There are 1,, centimeters in our 10 kilometer race. For "small to large" conversions, divide by the appropriate power of ten. Converting from a small unit to a larger unit is essentially the opposite process as the reverse - instead of multiplying, you'll need to divide.

Take your initial measurement and divide it by the amount that its units differ from the desired final units - again, this should be a power of ten. Alternatively, you can multiply by the inverse power of ten to get the same results. For example, rather than dividing your measurement by 10 3 , you would multiply it by 10 Both operations are valid and will give the same answer.

Let's do an example problem. Let's say we want to covert centimeters to decameters. Since "centi" and "deca" are three spaces apart on the line of prefixes, we know that decameters are 10 3 times larger than centimeters. Method 2 Quiz Barbara is centimeters tall.

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