The metric system
How well do you know your metric vocab? Below are a list of prefixes used in the metric system, arranged in order of size. Can you fill in the blanks?
You already know the metric system? That's great. Below is a short quiz – if you can answer all 8 questions correctly within 4 minutes, feel free to skip this page. If not, you might want to brush up a little.
NOTE: do NOT put commas in your numbers -- the program is not smart enough to understand them!
The brain of an elephant can weigh up to 7.5 kilograms.
What is this in grams? g
Homo sapiens have a brain volume of about 1350 mL.
How much is this in liters? L
A mouse brain weighs about 400 milligrams.
What is this in micrograms? micrograms
Ribosomes start at about 11 nm.
How many micrometers is this? microns
A mitochondrion averages 0.5 micrometers across.
How much is this in nanometers? nm
Commander Spock identifies a new strain of bacteria which averages 17.83 micrometers.
How many nanometers is this? nanometers
The nerve cell running the length of a giraffe's neck can measure up to 3100 millimeters.
How much is this in meters? m
in micrometers? microns
Answers: 7500, 1.35, 400000, 0.011, 500, 17830, 3.1, 3100000
If you need to brush up...
The easiest way to convert metric measurements is to move the decimal place. Remember that metric vocab? It went like this:
tera – giga – mega – kilo – no prefix – milli – micro – nano – pico
Every time you move to the right on this list, the unit gets smaller (by 3 decimal places), so you need more of them to compensate (move the decimal place 3 to the right).
For example, a human egg is 0.1 millimeters in diameter. So, in nanometers, this is:
To summarize, remember that the SMALLER the unit, the MORE of them you need to make the same measurement, so move the decimal in the appropriate direction.
Now try the quiz again...
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