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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)

Learn More: Myanmar (Burma)
Map of Myanmar (Burma)

Click here: Myanmar = Burma

Learn More: Liberia / Africa Map
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 (inch-foot, 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:

U-shaped 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: Platinum-Iridium 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 light-second.

Light-Year:

NOTE: Really HUGE distances in space are measured in light-years.

LIGHT-YEAR: (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 light-year 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 light-seconds 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