The Metric System of Measurement
THE METRIC SYSTEM OF MEASUREMENT:
Click here: History of the Metric System
The Metric System is a decimal system of measurement based on the number ten (10).
The United States uses Customary Units from the English (Imperial) System of measurement.
"Magnum est ut inter sese colloqui possint periti in scientiae rebus."
Translation of Latin above:
"It is important that scientists can communicate with each other."
The metric system is commonly used by scientists as a standard form of communicating data worldwide.
Scientists share their research and experimental results with other fellow scientists.
Scientists communicate their quantitative data to one another.
In 1887, Dr. L.L. Zamenhof attempted to create a common world language called Esperanto.
Click here to learn more about: Esperanto
Dr. Zamenhof says, "Saluton. Kiel vi fartas?" (Hello. How are you?)
~ Metric Disaster on Planet Mars ~
Click here: Martian Metric Mistake
...to learn more about the "Mars Mission Metric Mistake "
~ The Tower of Babel ~
Expression: "Don't babel like an idiot."
The Tower of Babel / History of Babel
(legendary engineering disaster of a "tower to heaven" due to communication breakdown)
France was first to officially adopt the metric system in 1795.
NOTE: There are only three (3) countries in the world that do NOT use metric:
United States, Liberia, and Myanmar (Burma)



Map of Myanmar (Burma) 
Click here: Myanmar = Burma



Official Flag of Liberia 
Click here: History of Liberia / Liberia / Timeline
HISTORICAL NOTE:
In 1960, the General Conference of Weights and Measures
approved an updated version of the metric system,
known as the International System of Units, abbreviated SI.
The main reason why the USA does NOT convert to metric is EXPENSE.
It would cost BILLIONS of dollars for the United States to convert to the metric system!!!
Plus, it would create tons of trash,
and force citizens to have to learn a whole new system of measuring.
$$$
Items that would have to be thrown away and
replaced by a metric equivalent:

 Measuring cups for cooking / baking
 Recipes and cook books
 Bathroom scales
 Household thermostats
 Ovens (temperature dial)
 Thermometers (indoor and outdoor)
 Road signs (speed and distance)
 Carpenter's tools (wrenches, nails, wood, screws, blueprints)
 Computer software (tabs, print configuration, spacing)
 Textbooks (math, science, geography)
 Maps and GPS
 Automobile speedometers / odometers
 Rulers (inchfoot, yard sticks, measuring tape)
 Gasoline pumps
 Food packaging
 Paper and xerox machines
 Clothing (sizes for shoes & pants, patterns, factory equipment)
 ...and many other miscellaneous household items

CHART SHOWING BASIC METRIC UNITS:
TYPE OF MEASUREMENT 
METRIC UNIT 
ENGLISH UNIT 
Volume 
Liter 
Gallon 
Length (Distance) 
Meter 
Yard 
Mass (Weight) 
Gram 
Pound 
Temperature 
degrees Celsius 
degrees Fahrenheit 
~VOLUME~
Volume: the amount of space an object occupies.
Liquid volumes are usually measured in metric units of milliliters (mL).
1 mL = 1 cc
Doctors and medical professionals tend to use cubic centimeters (cc).
Meniscus:
Ushaped curvature...
...that the top surface of liquids have in their containers.
(see examples below)
Click here: Meniscus Madness
Remember...Always read the BOTTOM of the MENISCUS curve!
How is VOLUME determined?
Solid volumes of cubes/rectangles are ususally measured using the formula:
Length x Width x Height
or...
Irregular solid volumes are measured using the "Water Displacement Method."
Length Measurement in Metric
Above: PlatinumIridium Standard Meter Bar
The Meter:
Above: Wooden Meter Stick (portion)
The meter was originally defined to represent one ten millionth (1⁄10,000,000) of the distance between the North Pole and the Equator
(on a line of longitude through the former Prime Meridian of Paris, France).
Learn more about the Meter

The Prime Meridian represents zero (0) degrees longitude.
The Prime Meridian used to pass through Paris, France.
Today, the Prime Meridian passes through Greenwich, England.

Lines of longitude start at the North Pole and end at the South Pole.

One meter is currently defined as:
1⁄299,792,458th of a lightsecond.
LightYear:
NOTE: Really HUGE distances in space are measured in lightyears.
LIGHTYEAR: (the distance light travels in one calendar year).
Click here: Learn more about the Speed of Light
Light moves at a speed of about 300,000 kilometers per second. (186,000 miles/second)
More precisely, one lightyear is equal to 9,500,000,000,000 kilometers (5,866,000,000,000 miles).
So in one year, light can travel almost 10 trillion km (~ 6 trillion miles). Wow!

ABOVE: An animated line showing the speed of light
on a scale model of the Earth and the Moon.
(about 1.2 lightseconds apart)

USING A RULER:
RULER RULES:
1. Start measuring at the zero mark.
2. Rulers are NOT swords! (lunch detention)
3. Do NOT bend rulers. (they break)
4. Do NOT spin rulers. (they break)
5. Do NOT take classroom rulers out of class. 
Remember: Start measuring at the zero mark.
1 INCH = 2.5 CENTIMETERS
Chart of Metric Prefixes:
Metric Prefix 
Definition 
Meter 
Liter 
Gram 
milli 
1/1,000 
mm 
mL 
mg 
centi 
1/100 
cm 
cL 
cg 
kilo 
1,000 
km 
kL 
kg 
Metric Conversion and English Equivalents:
There are twelve (12) inches in a foot. (12" = 1')
There are 1,000 millimeters in a meter. (milli = 1/1000th)
There are 100 centimeters in a meter. (centi = 1/100th)
There are 1,000 meters in a kilometer. (kilo = 1,000)
One (1) kilometer equals 0.62 miles. (10 km = 6.2 mi)
CENTIPEDE: 100 legs (not really)
MILLIPEDE: 1,000 legs (not really)
CENTURY: 100 years
MILLENIUM: 1,000 years
CENT (penny): 1/100th of $1.00 (dollar)
NOTE: There are ten (10) millimeters in one (1) centimeter. (1cm = 10mm)
One Millimeter: Width of one (1) dime
Metric Comparisons:
MILLIMETER:
width of a penny or a dime 

CENTIMETER:
width of a large paper clip 

METER:
length of a baseball bat 

KILOMETER:
distance an average person can walk in ten minutes 

More Comparisons...
One Meter = Length on one (1) German Shepard or two (2) Cocker Spaniels
Metric Measurement Practice:
Click here: More Metric Practice Examples
~ Mass ~
Mass: the measure of the amount of matter (atoms) in an object.
Mass is measured in metric units of grams. (g)
Mass is measured using a triple beam balance (shown below).
Below: Electronic Pan Balance (for measuring mass in gram units)
Temperature:
ENGLISH
SYSTEM
degrees Fahrenheit
Freezing:
32 degrees
Boiling:
212 degrees


METRIC
SYSTEM
degrees Celsius (Centigrade)
Freezing:
0 degrees
Boiling:
100 degrees

Temperature: the amount of kinetic energy (motion) in matter.


Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit 
Anders Celsius 
Below: Red bulb thermometers are filled with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, dyed RED.
Below: Silver bulb thermometers are filled with toxic, liquid mercury metal.
(Avoid using this kind of thermometer!)
Below: No No!!
Do NOT try this at home!
Above: Cinnabar (natural mercury ore rock)
Mercury was used in the hat industry long ago.
Have you seen the film, Alice in Wonderland?
Have you heard the expression, "Mad as a Hatter?"
Disney's Mad Hatter had Mercury Poisoning and became crazy!
Click here: Mad Hatter Syndrome / Mercury Poisoning
Above: Mercury Warning Sign on the Concord River, MA