Metric System And Significant Digits


Metric prefixes
In science, the fundamental units of measurement have been established by the International System of
Units (SI). Using the same system allows data to easily be compared with other experiments across the
globe. The metric system is a decimal system that uses one basic unit for each type of measurement
(ie—meter for length) and attaches prefixes to indicate how many times more than(in multiples of 10) or
less than (the base unit you have.
1000 times more than base unit
100 times more
10 times more
(Base unit)
1 times
0.1 times base unit
0.01 times base unit
.001 times base unit
Converting from one metric unit to another can be done simply by moving the decimal to the left if going
to change to larger units or to the right if going to change to smaller units.—A piece of string is 1.43
decimeters long. To convert to millimeters, you simply would need to recognize that millimeters is two
“steps” smaller. That means you just need to move the decimal two places to the right to make it 143mm.
If you struggle with moving the decimal you could also convert by setting up a fraction (the unit you want
to get rid of always goes on the opposite side of the fraction than where it currently is). This allows you to
cancel out units.
Example Convert 1.43 decimeters to millimeters:
1.43 dm x 100 mm = 143 dm
1 dm
1. Convert the following:
a. 2.05 meters (m) =___________ centimeters (cm)
b. 1.05 meters (m) =___________ millimeters (mm)
c. 6.8 meters (m) =___________ kilometers (km)
d. 4214.6 cm
=___________ meters (m)
Metric to English Conversions.
To convert to the English system, try to cancel out units by multiplying by the correct conversion factor.
See attached sheet for conversion factors.
2. Use the metric conversion chart to convert the following:
a. 15 inches=_____________centimeters
b. 21 feet = _____________meters
c. 4 miles= _____________ kilometers
d. 5 gallons= _____________ liters
3. Temperature. To convert Farenheit to Celsius or vice versa can be done using graphical analysis or by
using the following formulas:
˚Temp˚C = (Temp ˚F – 32) ÷ 1.8
Convert 30 C to degrees F__________
Convert 45 F to degrees C__________
Convert 15 F to degrees C__________
d. Convert 40˚C to degrees F


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