UNDERSTANDING THE METRIC
SYSTEM
The
Metric System is based on powers of ten. The table below shows the progression
of prefixes.
PREFIX

SYMBOL

MATHEMATICAL
VALUE

exa

E

1,000,000,000,000,000,000

peta

P

1,000,000,000,000,000

tera

T

1,000,000,000,000

giga

G

1,000,000,000

meg

M

1,000,000

kilo

k

1,000

hecto

h

100

deka

da

10

(meter,
liter, gram)

1


deci

d

0.1

centi

c

0.01

milli

m

0.001

micro

µ

0.000,001

nano

n

0.000,000,001

pico

p

0.000,000,000,001

femto

f

0.000,000,000,000,001

atto

a

0.000,000,000,000,000,001

The
unit of measurement from length is the meter. The progression
of the
more common units of measure are:
kilometer  km  1,000 meters 
meter  m  1.0 
centimeter  cm  0.01 meters 
millimeter  mm  0.001 meters 
nanometers  nm  0.000,000,001 meters 
The
unit of measure for capacity is the liter, so the measurements
allow
the same progression, such as kiloliter, centiliter, and so on.
The
unit of measure for weight is the gram, so the measurement prefixes
are kilogram, centigram, and so forth.
When
making conversions within the metric system, each change in prefix
represents one decimal point move. If you move downward one the chart,
the decimal places will be added. If you move upward, the decimal places
are moved to the left.