If you ever get an opportunity to explore another nation, seize it! You will witness numerous novel things. Each place possesses its own culture and history. People engage in various activities based on their geographical location. In certain places, citizens elect a president, while in others they elect a prime minister. Some individuals walk on a sidewalk, while others traverse on a footpath. Even measurements differ from country to country! In certain regions, distance is measured in miles, while in others, kilometers are used.

What distinguishes a mile from a kilometer? One mile is approximately equal to 1.6 kilometers. They are part of distinct measurement systems. The mile is a component of the Imperial System, whereas the kilometer is part of the Metric System.

Have you ever come across the Metric System? It is utilized in the majority of countries worldwide. In fact, only three nations still employ the Imperial System: the United States, Liberia, and Myanmar. The Metric System encompasses numerous units of measurement. Meters gauge length, grams determine mass, and liters quantify volume. If you are accustomed to utilizing feet, pounds, and gallons for measurement, this may be unfamiliar to you!

The Metric System’s utilization of prefixes renders it slightly easier to comprehend. Appending a prefix to a unit of measurement either increases or decreases the unit’s magnitude. It is akin to converting miles into feet or inches. In order to do so, we need to be aware that there are 5,280 feet in one mile. Additionally, we must remember that twelve inches constitute a foot. Conversely, in the Metric System, one simply needs to recall the prefixes. These prefixes are based on units of ten and are applicable across all measurements. Here are a few of the most common prefixes and their meanings:

kilo – one thousand

hecto – one hundred

deca – ten

deci – one-tenth

centi – one-hundredth

milli – one-thousandth

How does this function? If you add kilo- to a unit of measurement, it results in a unit that is one thousand times larger. A kilogram is one thousand grams. A kiloliter is one thousand liters. A kilometer is… You guessed it! One thousand meters. It’s that straightforward!

It is also possible to decrease measurements. If you add centi- to a unit, it reduces the unit to one-hundredth of its original size. Have you ever heard of a centimeter? It is one-hundredth of a meter. Similarly, a centigram is one-hundredth of a gram, and a centiliter is one-hundredth of a liter.

There are numerous other prefixes that can be utilized in the Metric System. You have probably used many of them without even realizing it! Have you ever encountered a megabyte? It is a common unit of measurement for memory space. The prefix mega- signifies one million, so a megabyte is equivalent to one million bytes. If we inform you that the prefix giga- signifies one billion, how many bytes do you think are in a gigabyte? That’s correct, it is equal to one billion bytes.

Are you prepared to delve into the Metric System? You are not alone! Many people worldwide employ this system. A fantastic way to begin is by practicing conversions with everyday items. If a can of soda contains 350 milliliters, how many liters is that? If one metric ton is equal to 1,000 kilograms, then what is its weight in grams? Once you commence, navigating the Metric System becomes increasingly effortless!

## Give it a try

Ask a friend or family member to assist you with these activities!

- Are you curious about the comparison between the Metric System and Imperial System? Take a look at both measurement systems and then write a paragraph explaining their similarities and differences.
- Do you know where the Metric System originated from? Explore the history of the system and then summarize what you learned for a friend or family member.
- Apply the Metric System in practical situations! Measure various items around your home with the help of a friend or family member. You can use tools like a ruler, scale, or any other measuring instrument. Afterwards, convert the measurements using the prefixes mentioned in this Wonder. Discuss how you could use the Metric System in the future. What other things could you measure? Which system do you prefer – the Metric System or the Imperial System?

### Sources of Information

- http://www.us-metric.org/commonly-used-metric-system-units-symbols-and-prefixes/ (accessed March 25, 2019)
- https://www.montereyinstitute.org/courses/DevelopmentalMath/TEXTGROUP-1-8_RESOURCE/U06_L2_T1_text_final.html (accessed March 25, 2019)
- https://www.visionlearning.com/en/library/General-Science/3/The-Metric-System/47 (accessed March 25, 2019)

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