The metric system of measurement is the standard way of measuring distance, calculating height, and most of the other day-to-day items. For instance, let's consider a jar of milk. We use liters to find the volume of milk and meters (or centimeters) to find the height of the jar. This is because these metric units are followed in most places worldwide and are called SI units (International System of Units). Let's begin and learn more about the metric system.
|1.||What is Metric System?|
|3.||Metric System Chart|
|4.||Metric System Conversion|
|5.||Metric System Length|
|6.||Metric System vs Imperial|
|7.||FAQs on Metric System|
What is Metric System?
Everything around us, right from the amount of sugar you add to a cake to the length of a football field, has a value of the measurement. We measure each object according to its length, weight, volume, or time in a different manner. The concept of "Metric System" is introduced with these measurements. By definition, the metric system of measurement in mathematics is the set of standard units defined to measure length, weight, area, and capacity. It is based on the decimal system as it includes numbers in powers of 10.
There are various places where we use metric units in our daily life. This metric system is implemented and followed in various fields like science, medicine, governance, defense, and so on. Some of the metric system examples can be listed as given below:
- John and Lisa run a kilometer.
- This watermelon weighs 4 kilograms.
- Ashley takes 10 milliliters of tonic.
Origin of Metric System
The metric system is an easy-to-use measurement system as it has units in terms of powers of 10. At the time of the French revolution, in around 1790, it was realized that the existing systems of measurement had become impractical and of less usage for trade purposes, so a system based on the decimal values of grams and meter came into use for practical purposes which was originally the idea of John Wilkins and Gabriel Mouton. It was easier to compute the metric values as compared to the other systems of measures.
Gabriel Mouton was considered the founding father of the metric system of measurement. In 1668, John Wilkins, an English clergyman, came up with a proposed system of measuring length, mass, area, and volume. These standard units were based on real-life discoveries. The standard unit of length was derived from the length of a pendulum that had a half-beat of one second, the unit of mass was based on the mass of 1 liter of water, etc. Then two years later, in 1670, Gabriel Mouton, the vicar of St. Paul’s Church in France, proposed a unit of length based on the dimensions of the earth. He also proposed the usage of decimal multiples for the unit of length.
There are various metric units used for measuring length, mass, area, and capacity. For example, millimeters, centimeters, meters, and kilometers are the metric units of the measurement of length. Grams and kilograms are the units for measuring weight. Look at the table given below to understand all the metric system units used for different purposes.
|Purpose||Metric Units||Abbreviated as|
|Measurement of Length||Millimeters||mm|
|Measurement of Area||Square centimeters||sq. cm|
|Square meters||sq. m|
|Square kilometers||sq. km|
|Hectare (10,000 square meters)||ha|
Metric System Chart
The metric system chart contains the formulas of conversion of various metric units. It will help you to quickly convert one unit to another by looking at its multiplying factor. For example, by observing the metric system chart, you will find that 1 meter = 100 cms. By using this conversion formula, you can convert 5 meters to cms by multiplying 5 with 100. Let us observe the metric system chart given below:
|1 cm = 10 mm||1 cg = 10 mg||1 cl = 10 ml|
|1 mm = 0.1 cm||1 mg = 0.1 cg||1 ml = 0.1 cl|
|1 m = 100 cm||1 g = 100 cg||1 l = 100 cl|
|1 cm = 0.01 m||1 cg = 0.01 g||1 cl = 0.01 l|
|1 km = 1000 m||1 g = 1000 mg||1 l = 1000 ml|
|1 m = 0.001 km||1 mg = 0.001 g||1 ml = 0.001 l|
|1 kg = 1000 g||1 kl = 1000 l|
|1 g = 0.001 kg||1 l = 0.001 kl|
|1 tonne = 1000 kg|
|1 kg = 0.001 tonne|
We will be using this metric system chart to understand the metric conversions explained below.
Metric System Conversion
Metric system conversion means converting one metric unit to another. For example, if Emma has measured the height of a pillar as 89 meters, but she wants to know the value in kilometers, so she can convert m to km by applying the appropriate conversion formula. Some of the most commonly used metric system conversion formulas are given below:
- To convert m to cm, multiply by 100.
- To convert cm to mm, multiply by 10.
- To convert km to m, multiply by 1000.
- To convert kg to grams, multiply by 1000.
- To convert grams to mg, multiply by 1000.
- To convert liters to kiloliters, divide by 1000.
- To convert ml to liters, divide by 1000.
Let us learn conversions in each area one by one. The metric units for length are explained in the next section. In this section, we will be focussing on the metric system units of weights and capacity.
The standard unit for measurement of weight is a kilogram. The standard tool we use to measure weight is the beam balance or the weighing scale. These are some examples that show where the weight measurements are typically used:
- The weight of two bread slices is about 100 grams.
- The weight of a loaf of bread is about one kilogram (kg).
- An elephant weighs approx. 5 tonnes.
Look at the chart showing conversions of metric units of weight.
The term capacity is used for measuring the volume or the space occupied by an object. The standard unit for measurement of capacity is the liter. The standard tool we use to measure capacity is the measuring cup. For example,
- A liter of milk.
- 500 ml of oil.
- 2 kg of crude oil.
Look at the chart showing conversions of metric units of measuring capacity.
Metric System Length
Length can be measured in different units like inches, centimeters, feet, kilometers, etc. But out of these units, millimeters, centimeters, meters, and kilometers are the metric system units for length measurement. The metric system length can be measured using a ruler or a measuring tape where units are written in centimeters. The metric system chart for length conversion is given below that will help you to understand the relationship between various units.
It shows that millimeters (mm) can be converted to centimeters (cm) by dividing the given value by 10, cm can be converted to m by dividing the given value by 100, and so on. Just observe the direction of arrows and look for the multiplying factor in each of the cases. While going from larger units to the smaller units (for example, km to m, m to cm, and so on), we multiply the value by an appropriate power of 10. On the other hand, while moving from smaller units to larger units (for example, mm to cm, cm to m, and m to km), divide the value by an appropriate power of 10.
Metric System vs Imperial
The two commonly used systems of measurement used in math are the metric system and the imperial system. The metric system is easier and accepted worldwide, while the imperial system is used in countries like the US, UK, Myanmar, Liberia, etc. Look at the table below to under metric system vs imperial system:
|Metric System||Imperial System|
|It is based on the decimal system of units based on meters, kilograms, and second as the units of measuring length, mass, and time respectively.||It is a system of measurement used in countries like the US, Myanmar, Liberia, etc, and includes units such as inches, feet, pounds, etc.|
|Metric units are in powers of 10. For example, 100 centimeters in 1 meter, 1000 grams in 1 kg, etc.||There is no specific pattern in the imperial units.|
|Metric System Units: centimeters, meters, grams, centigrams, liters, kiloliters, etc.||Imperial Units: inches, feet, ounces, pounds, miles, etc.|
Important Notes on Metric System:
Given below are a few important notes on the metric system in math.
- The standard unit for measurement of length is a meter.
- The standard unit for measurement of weight is a kilogram.
- The standard unit for measurement of capacity is the liter.
- Time is measured using hours, minutes, and seconds.
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Metric System Examples
Example 1: Convert 500 meters to kilometers.
Both meters and kilometers are metric system units of measuring distance. In 1 m, there are 1/1000 km.
⇒ 1 m = 1/1000 km
⇒ 500 m = 500/1000 km
⇒ 500 m = 1/2 km = 0.5 km
Therefore, 500 meters is equal to half a kilometer or 0.5 km.
Example 2: Paul saw a giant fish that was 600 cm long in an aquarium. Help Paul calculate its length in mm.
Two of the metric system units of measuring length are centimeters and millimeters abbreviated as cm and mm respectively. To convert centimeters to millimeters, multiply the given value by 10 as there are 10 mm in 1 cm.
⇒ 1 cm = 10 mm
⇒ 600 cm = 600 × 10 mm
⇒ 600 cm = 6000 mm
Therefore, the fish is 6000 mm long.
Example 3: How many centigrams are there in 12 grams?
Centigrams and grams are the units of the metric system. In 1 gram, there are 100 centigrams.
⇒ 1 g = 100 cg
⇒ 12 g = 12 × 100 cg
⇒ 12 g = 1200 cg
Therefore, there are 1200 centigrams in 12 grams.
FAQs on Metric System
What is the Metric System?
The metric system of measurement is the standard system based on decimal values. It has unit conversions based on the powers of 10. One can measure length, weight, area, capacity, speed, distance, time, etc using the metric system units.
What Countries don't Use the Metric System?
Three countries including the US, Myanmar, and Liberia do not officially use the metric system.
How does the Metric System Work?
The metric system works with some standard set of units such as meter, kilogram, liter, hours, etc to measure length, weight, capacity, and time respectively.
What is the Unit of Force in Metric System?
The SI unit of force is Newton under the metric system.
What are the 7 Metric Units?
As we know the SI units are based on the metric system. So, the seven SI units are listed below:
- Length - meter (m)
- Time - second (s)
- Luminous intensity - candela (cd)
- Amount of substance - mole (mole)
- Electric current - ampere (A)
- Temperature - kelvin (K)
- Mass - kilogram (kg)
What are the Units Under the Metric System?
The metric system has meter, centimeter, millimeter, and kilometer for length; kilograms, milligrams, centigrams, and gram for weight; liter, kiloliter, centiliter, and milliliter for capacity; hours, minutes, seconds for time.
What is the Basic Unit of Length in the Metric System?
The basic unit of length is the meters (m) in the metric system. It is also known as the SI unit of length.
What Metric System does the US Use?
The US uses the US customary system of measurement officially which includes units like inches, pounds, ounces, feet, miles, etc.