How big is big?

The metric system is a very useful way of having a common system of relation between units of different sizes. The metric system was originally proposed by an Englishman, but didn’t catch on. It was later introduced in France and has since spread across almost the entire world (see the history of the metric system), except for the U.S.A and Myanmar (but scientists across the world all use metric). The advantage of the metric system is common conversion rates – every unit is related in multiples of 10, which makes it easy to convert between different sizes. It wasn’t always so easy:

LENGTH

12 lines = 1 inch (in.)
12 inches = 1 foot (ft.)
3 feet (ft.) = 1 yard (yd.)
7.92 inches = 1 link
25 links = 1 rod, pole or perch
16½ feet = 1 rod, pole or perch
yards = 1 rod, pole or perch
4 poles .. = 1 chain
100 links = 1 chain
22 yards = 1 chain
40 poles .. = 1 furlong
220 yards = 1 furlong
8 furlongs = 1 statute mile
5280 feet = 1 mile
1760 yards = 1 mile
2240 yards = 1 Irish mile
3 miles = 1 league

Now that’s confusing! All the different conversion factors makes for such a mess – trying to remember what you multiply by to convert one unit to another is just messy! It makes it much more easy if you can just move the decimal point in order to change between relative sizes by multiplying or dividing by ten.

Prefix Symbol 10n Decimal Short scale
yotta Y 1024 1000000000000000000000000 Septillion
zetta Z 1021 1000000000000000000000 Sextillion
exa E 1018 1000000000000000000 Quintillion
peta P 1015 1000000000000000 Quadrillion
tera T 1012 1000000000000 Trillion
giga G 109 1000000000 Billion
mega M 106 1000000 Million
kilo k 103 1000 Thousand
hecto h 102 100 Hundred
deca da 101 10 Ten
100 1 One
deci d 10−1 0.1 Tenth
centi c 10−2 0.01 Hundredth
milli m 10−3 0.001 Thousandth
micro µ 10−6 0.000001 Millionth
nano n 10−9 0.000000001 Billionth
pico p 10−12 0.000000000001 Trillionth
femto f 10−15 0.000000000000001 Quadrillionth
atto a 10−18 0.000000000000000001 Quintillionth
zepto z 10−21 0.000000000000000000001 Sextillionth
yocto y 10−24 0.000000000000000000000001 Septillionth

A link to previous post that goes over this topic. And a link to an online converter that can convert almost any unit to any other unit.

Finally, video to look over and explain how to use the metric prefix system to convert between various prefixes:

Don’t blame me for the song, you asked for it!

See you in class!

LENGTH

12 lines = 1 inch (in.)
12 inches = 1 foot (ft.)
3 feet (ft.) = 1 yard (yd.)
7.92 inches = 1 link
25 links = 1 rod, pole or perch
16½ feet = 1 rod, pole or perch
yards = 1 rod, pole or perch
4 poles .. = 1 chain
100 links = 1 chain
22 yards = 1 chain
40 poles .. = 1 furlong
220 yards = 1 furlong
8 furlongs = 1 statute mile
5280 feet = 1 mile
1760 yards = 1 mile
2240 yards = 1 Irish mile
3 miles = 1 league
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8 Comments on “How big is big?”

  1. CyberChalky Says:

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  2. Rachel Says:

    Is the test going to be on Tuesday?

  3. alanky Says:

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  4. Anthony Vuong Says:

    where is the practise test 😐


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