How to Use The Metric System

By Carolyn Wood

What is the Metric System?

The metric system is a measurement system that uses decimals and goes by tens.

See the picture below for the stair step.

Why are the metric system and the SI units so important and useful?

Well, the majority of the world actually uses the metric system. So if you go to another country it wouldn't be miles and Fahrenheit instead it would be meters and Celsius. Once again it is measured in the powers of ten which is very convenient.
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What is the metric stair step and how can I remember it?

The metric stair step is a method to help with the units.

King- Kilo

Harry- Hecto

Didn't- Deka

Buy- Base Unit

Denim- Deci

Car- Centi

Motors- Milli

What is Si?

Si stands for International System of Units. Why is it called Si then? Si comes from the French word Système International d'Unités which is the same as International System of Units. The base units are meter, liter, gram, and kelvin.

Are there abbreviations?

Yes, there actually is abbreviations for length, volume, mass, temperature, and time. Length is meters which you can make 'M'. Volume would be liter which you can make L. Mass is gram which can be G. Temperature is Kelvin which can be K.

A little bit of History of the Si unit

It was created during the French Revolution, June 22, 1799. In 1832, Gauss promoted the Metric system. He was the first to create the absolute measurements of the Earth's magnetic force of the decimal system.
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How to use the Metric stair step

1. You start with a number

2. Decide if you need to go up the stair or down

3. Count how many you need to go. If you go to the right the decimal will go to the right. If you go to the left the decimal will go to the left

Example :

Making it larger

45 grams - Hectograms

You will move to the left so the answer would be


Making it smaller

33 liters- Milliliters

You will move to the right so the answer would be

33,000 mL

More Examples

294.88 Grams- Kilograms

Move to the left 3

.29488 Kg


678.2 Centimeters- Hectometers

Move to the left 4

.06782 hm


999 Liters- Centiliters

Move to the right 2

99.9 cm


.6842 Dekameters- Decimeters

move to the right 2

68.42 dm


.0000003 Kilometers- Millimeters

Move to the right 6

0.3 mm


0.03 Millimeters- Meters

Move to the left 3

0.00003 m


Sites used

"Brief History of the SI." Brief History of the SI. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2014


"Lesson I: The Metric System and SI Units." Lesson I: The Metric System and SI Units. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.


"Units: The International System." Units: The International System. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2014.

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Congratulations! You know know how to successfully know how to use the Metric system