Math Tip of the Week – Metric System Table

Here’s an excerpt from the Metric System section under Basic Math:

I always like to teach the major units of the metric system with a King Henry mnemonic (a mnemonic is a way to use familiar words to remember something).  The following table will help you with the different units used with the metric system.  The middle column is the standard unit (main measurement), or the base unit.  Note that the units beginning with “dec” have to do with tens or tenths, the units that start with “cent” or “hect” have to do with hundreds or hundredths, and the units that start with “milli” or “kilo” have to do with thousands or thousandths.  These are Latin and Greek stems of words.

Metric System Chart



So this means that 1 meter is the same as 10 decimeters which is the same as 100 centimeters, and so on.  It also means that there are 1000 meters in a kilometer (since a meter is \(\displaystyle \frac{1}{{1000}}\) of a kilometer).  If you get confused between “deca” and “deci” remember that a decathlon is a series of 10 events in sports.

Happy Mathing!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *