 Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum            Session 3, Part A:
Metric System Basics

In This Part: History | Units and Prefixes | Working With Metric Prefixes

Here is a detailed table of some metric prefixes: Note 4  Prefixes and Their Equivalents  Symbol Prefix Factor Ordinary Notation U.S. Name European Name T tera 1012 1,000,000,000,000 trillion billion G giga 109 1,000,000,000 billion milliard M mega 106 1,000,000 million k kilo 103 1,000 thousand h hecto 102 100 hundred da deka 101 10 ten 100 1 one d deci 10-1 0.1 tenth c centi 10-2 0.01 hundredth m milli 10-3 0.001 thousandth µ micro 10-6 0.000 001 millionth n nano 10-9 0.000 000 001 billionth thousand millionth p pico 10-12 0.000 000 000 001 trillionth billionth  Problem A3 a. What patterns do you notice in this table? b. Some of these prefixes are more commonly used than others, particularly when the base unit is a meter. Which prefixes are you most familiar with? c. How can a centimeter, a millimeter, a kilometer, and a micrometer be expressed in terms of a meter? d. A kilometer is 1,000 m, but we can also state that it is 1,000,000 mm. Explain how these relationships work. e. Try expressing the following quantities in at least two different ways: centimeter, millimeter, and decimeter. Problem A4 You have probably noticed that the metric system never uses fractions. Instead, fractional quantities are recorded using decimals. Why do you think this is the case?  Think about the nature of the base ten system and how you can easily divide by powers of 10. Since the relationship between prefixes is based on powers of 10, we can switch prefixes easily by simply moving a decimal point.    Close Tip Think about the nature of the base ten system and how you can easily divide by powers of 10. Since the relationship between prefixes is based on powers of 10, we can switch prefixes easily by simply moving a decimal point. Problem A5 a. If you want to change 3,600 m to kilometers, what do you do? Explain. b. If you want to change 0.028 m to millimeters, what do you do? c. If you want to change 4,600,000 mm to kilometers, what do you do?      Problem A6 The Sun is 150 gigameters (Gm) from the Earth. The Moon is 384 megameters (Mm) from the Earth. How many times farther from the Earth is the Sun than the Moon?  Next > Part B: Metric Units  Session 3: Index | Notes | Solutions | Video