## 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 |

5½ | 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 | 10^{n} |
Decimal | Short scale | |||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

yotta | Y | 10^{24} |
1000000000000000000000000 | Septillion | |||

zetta | Z | 10^{21} |
1000000000000000000000 | Sextillion | |||

exa | E | 10^{18} |
1000000000000000000 | Quintillion | |||

peta | P | 10^{15} |
1000000000000000 | Quadrillion | |||

tera | T | 10^{12} |
1000000000000 | Trillion | |||

giga | G | 10^{9} |
1000000000 | Billion | |||

mega | M | 10^{6} |
1000000 | Million | |||

kilo | k | 10^{3} |
1000 | Thousand | |||

hecto | h | 10^{2} |
100 | Hundred | |||

deca | da | 10^{1} |
10 | Ten | |||

10^{0} |
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 |

5½ | 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 |

**Explore posts in the same categories:**Mathematics

**Tags:** Mathematics, Metric System, Prefixes

March 3, 2010 at 5:47 AM

I’m still the first to comment, year 10. You need to do better than that. Using ICT is part of your assessmnet. Taking part in the virtual learning community through this blog is a simple way to demonstrate the skills you will be assessed on. Here is the VELS information you need to see.

Here are some practice test questions

March 6, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Mm.. Well that makes me the second to comment. 🙂

March 7, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Is the test going to be on Tuesday?

March 7, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Yes! Pass the word.

March 7, 2010 at 10:47 PM

Sir, whats with the Test 1 and Test 2 on the practice test?

Are we going to be doing 2 tests?

And lastly are the questions and that going to be the same on Tuesday, just with different numbers and names?

March 8, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Hi Alan,

Only one test; that was from a previous year where I gave out slightly different tests to different groups in the classroom.

March 8, 2010 at 3:59 PM

where is the practise test 😐

March 8, 2010 at 4:21 PM

i found it dont worry 😀