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Equivalent Metric Units of Length

Recognize equivalent expressions of metric length.

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Equivalent Metric Units of Length
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Corey measures the distance between two trees in his backyard. He finds that the measurement is 8 meters, but he wants to express the measurement in centimeters. How many centimeters are in 8 meters? 

In this concept, you will learn how to convert with metric units of measurements.

Converting Using Whole Number Values

Length measures how long something is from one end to the other end. 

Here are the common metric units of length from smallest to largest.

A millimeter is the smallest unit. Millimeters are most useful when measuring really tiny things. You can find millimeters on some rulers.

A centimeter is the next smallest unit. Centimeters can also be found on a ruler.

A meter is a little more than 3 feet.

A kilometer is used to measure longer distances.

Here is a chart to help with the conversions.

\begin{align*}& 1 \ km \qquad 1000 \ m\\ & 1 \ m \qquad \ \; 100 \ cm\\ & 1 \ cm \qquad \; 10 \ mm\end{align*}

Now that you know the conversions, you can change one unit to another unit.

5 km = ____ m

You can convert larger units to smaller units by multiplying. There are 1000 meters in one kilometer.

\begin{align*}5 \ km &= \underline{\;\;\;\;\;\;\;\;\;\;} \ m\\ 5 \times 1000 &= 5000 \ m\end{align*}

The answer is 5000 m.

Here's an example of converting smaller units to larger units.

600 cm = ______ m

You can convert smaller units to larger units by dividing. There are 100 cm in one meter.

600 \begin{align*}\div\end{align*} 100 \begin{align*}=\end{align*} 6

The answer is 6 m.

Examples

Example 1

Earlier, you were given a problem about Corey's measurement of his tree.

His measurement is 8 meters, but he wants to convert it to centimeters. How many centimeters are equal to 8 meters?

8 m = _____ cm

First, determine if the conversion is from smaller units to larger units or larger units to smaller units.

Larger to smaller

Next, perform the appropriate operation.

8 \begin{align*}\times \end{align*} 100

Then, write the value.

800

The answer is 800 cm. The distance between the two trees is 800 cm.

Example 2

Find the equivalent metric measurement.

6 m = ______ mm

First, determine if the conversion is from smaller units to larger units or larger units to smaller units.

Larger to smaller

Next, perform the appropriate operation.

6 \begin{align*}\times \end{align*} 1000

Then, write the value.

6000

The answer is 6000 mm.

Example 3

Find the equivalent metric measurement.

2000 mm = ______ cm

First, determine if the conversion is from smaller units to larger units or larger units to smaller units.

Larger to smaller

Next, perform the appropriate operation.

2000\begin{align*}\times \end{align*} 10

Then, write the value.

20000

The answer is 20000 cm.

Example 4

Find the equivalent metric measurement.

3 km = _____ m

First, determine if the conversion is from smaller units to larger units or larger units to smaller units.

Larger to smaller

Next, perform the appropriate operation.

3 \begin{align*}\times \end{align*} 1000

Then, write the value.

3000

The answer is 3000 m.

Example 5

Find the equivalent metric measurement.

4000 cm = ______ m

First, determine if the conversion is from smaller units to larger units or larger units to smaller units.

Smaller to larger

Next, perform the appropriate operation.

4000 \begin{align*}\div \end{align*} 100

Then, write the value.

40

The answer is 40 m.

Review

Complete the following metric equivalents.

  1. 6 km = ______ m
  2. 5 m = ______ cm
  3. 100 cm = ______ m
  4. 400 cm = ______ m
  5. 9 km = ______ m
  6. 2000 m = ______ km
  7. 20 mm = ______ cm
  8. 8 cm = ______ mm
  9. 900 cm = ______ m
  10. 12 m = ______ cm
  11. 10 cm = ______ mm
  12. 100 cm = _____ mm
  13. 6700 m = ______ km
  14. 8200 m = ______ km
  15. 12,500 m = ______ km

Review (Answers) 

To see the Review answers, open this PDF file and look for section 3.5. 

Resources

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Vocabulary

Centimeter

A centimeter is a very small unit of metric measure. A centimeter is one hundredth of one meter.

Kilometer

A kilometer is a common metric unit of length that is equal to 1,000 meters.

Length

Length is a measurement of how long something is. Examples of customary units of length are inches, feet, yards and miles.

Meter

A meter is a common metric unit of length that is slightly larger than a yard.

Metric System

The metric system is a system of measurement commonly used outside of the United States. It contains units such as meters, liters, and grams, all in multiples of ten.

Millimeter

A millimeter is the smallest common metric unit of length.

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