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Many historians believe that the metric system was discovered by a man named Gabriel Mouton, a vicar in St. Paul’s Church in Lyon, France in the year 1670. The metric system, also known as the Systeme international d’unites, is a system of units that help us measure weight, volume, and length. The only places the metric system is not used is in the US, Liberia, and Burma. The most common place the metric system is used in is the United Kingdom. It is mostly used in the medicinal, scientific, and technical fields of working, however, many other occupations use it. The metric system is deemed simple due to the fact that there is only one unit of measurement for each type of quantity measured. This system includes meter, kilometer, centimeter, and millimeter to measure length, gram, kilogram, centigram, and milligram to measure weight, and liter, dekaliter, centiliter, and milliliter to measure volume. The basic unit of length used in the metric system is meter. A meter is a little bit over three feet, or 39.37 inches to be exact. The basic unit of mass is gram. A gram is about the size of a regular sized paper clip, which is one gram, or 0.035274 ounces. Scientists believe that a gram could fill up a cube of about one centimeter. The difference between weight and mass is that an object’s mass stays the same against the gravitational pull. The basic unit of volume is a liter. A liter is slightly larger than a quart, or 1.05669 quarts. If we were to convert the metric system to the Imperial system, one centimeter is a little less than half an inch, 1.6 kilometers is about one mile, one meter is about three inches larger than one yard, one kilogram is a little more than two pounds, 28 grams is about equivalent to one ounce, one liter is slightly larger than a quart, and four liters is slightly larger than a gallon. In the metric system, each unit is ten times bigger than the last. To differ one unit from the other, we look at the prefix of each unit. The prefix kilo- is 1,000 times larger than the base unit, hecto- is 100 times larger, deka- is ten times larger, deci- is ten times smaller, centi- is 100 times smaller, and milli- is 1,000 times smaller. The prefixes all have the same meaning whether it’s attached to length, mass, or volume. When converting a smaller unit to a larger unit, you must move the decimal to the left, which makes the number smaller. If you want your unit to get larger, you move the decimal to the right. The more you understand converting decimals, the simpler the metric system can be. This process makes the metric system a decimal-based system. Scientific notation can also be useful for the knowledge of conversions in the metric system, being that is it the short handed version of it.


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