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The Metric System. Base Ten Measurement. Why bother with the Metric System?. Scientists use the metric system as their system of measurement (International System of Units, SI). The Metric System is a decimal system, based on the number “10” and multiples of ten.

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The Metric System

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The metric system

The Metric System

Base Ten Measurement

Why bother with the metric system

Why bother with the Metric System?

  • Scientists use the metric system as their system of measurement (International System of Units, SI).

  • The Metric System is a decimal system, based on the number “10” and multiples of ten.

  • Scientists use metric units to measure WHAT ???







  • The basic unit of length is the meter (m)

  • 1 m = 39.4 inches

  • All other lengths in the metric system are measured in relation to the meter.





What about the mega-meter or the giga-meter?

The metric system

Length is usually measuredwith a ruler

Length is also called distance. Distance is used to determine velocity

Velocity = distance  time

The metric system


  • Mass is a measure of the amount of matter in an object

  • The basic unit of mass was originally the gram (g)

  • The basic unit of mass has since been changed to the kilogram (kg)

bigger atoms


More matter means one of three things:

more atoms

or both

The metric system

Mass is usually measuredwith a scale

Mass is sometimes called weight, though they are not quite the same.

Changes in gravity result in changes in weight,but mass stays the same



  • Volume is the amount of space an object takes up

  • The basic unit of volume is the liter (L)

  • The metric unit to measure the volume of a solid is a cubic centimeter (cm3 or cc), but …

1 cm3 = 1 mL


1 g of H20 at 1° Celsius = I mL = 1 cm3

The metric system

Liquid volume is usually measured with a graduated cylinder or beaker

(or a 2 L bottle)

5 cm

Solid volume is measured with a ruler

5 cm

5 cm

5 x 5 x 5 = 125 cc (or cm3)



  • Temperature is a measure of the energy contained in the motion of the particles of a substance

  • The basic unit of temperature is the degree

  • Many scales are used to measure temperature, and the metric system uses degrees Celsius (C)

H20freezes at 0° C

H20boils at 100° C

The metric system

3O° Celsius is pretty darn hot!

2O° Celsius feels quite nice

10° Celsius, grab a coat dude

O° Celsius, you’re seeing ice

So what is the temperature today, you’d say?

Prefixes to know

Prefixes to Know



  • kilo = one thousand

  • centi = one hundredth

  • mega = one million

  • milli = one thousandth

  • micro = one millionth

  • giga = one billion

  • nano = one billionth

Now put it together

Now put it together




  • kilo

  • centi


  • mega



  • giga

  • milli


  • micro

  • nano

Want more prefixes?

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