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Real World Metric System

Each table has been given a Nutrition Facts sheet from a well-known fast food restaurant.

Notice that serving sizes and quantities of fats, sugars, etc. are listed using “grams (g)” or

“milligrams (mg)”. These are units of measure in the International System of Units,

commonly called the metric system. The metric system is the only system of measurement

used in most countries worldwide and in science. In the United States, we tend to use the

English system of measurement, for example ounces or pounds. Since all measurements

throughout your scientific career should be stated in metric system units, this lab will serve to

introduce you to the metric system, and how to convert English system units to those of the

metric system.

The metric system is easy and convenient to use. Table 1 lists some common metric units of

measurement and their English system equivalents. Notice that within each category the units

vary by powers of 10, which makes conversion from one unit to another very easy within the

metric system. Table 2 lists the relative value of commonly used prefixes in the metric

system. Table 2 also lists those relative values in scientific notation. Scientific notation is

commonly used in science as a type of short-hand when dealing with very small or very large

numbers. Notice that the exponent number is the number of decimal places either after (for

large numbers a positive exponent) or before (for small numbers a negative exponent) the

base unit.

Table 1. Some important details about the metric system.

The following information is to help you complete this lab and prepare for the lab practical.

Therefore, you need to spend some time learning the parts your lab instructor wants you to

know for the lab practical.

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Parent category: Miscellaneous