# Measuring: Meters, Liters, and Grams, Oh My!

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Measuring: Meters, Liters, and Grams, Oh My!

In ancient times, there was confusion about how to measure things.

When people tried to measure using the parts of their body they discovered that people aren’t built the same. Not everyone has the same foot size, arm size, hand size, etc.

To measure weight people tried using stones.
But what problem does this pose?

Stones come in different sizes.

How many seeds does this container hold?
And the same confusion arose when trying to find the volume of a container. How many seeds does this container hold? Again, it depends on the size of the seed.

Eventually people began to use the same ruler
Eventually people began to use the same ruler. Now a foot was a foot whether you lived in Eastonesia or Westlovakia. Above is a sample of the ruler we use today in the US, we use units like inches, feet, yards and miles for measuring length and distance.

To measure weight people started using a system of pounds, ounces, and tons

and for Volume… Cups, Pints, Quarts and Gallons were used.

But this system, called the Customary System, was still confusing (to everyone but the United States) Because we are one of the only countries to still use the Customary System of Measurement.

aka The International System of Units (SI)
So if the United States is the only country still using the Customary System to measure, what is everybody else using? Hey! Did you write this down yet? THE METRIC SYSTEM aka The International System of Units (SI)

All metric measures of length and distance are based on the METER.
All metric measures of volume are based on the LITER. All metric measures of mass are based on the GRAM.

Let me try to clear this up with a table:
Measuring Distances and Lengths Using the Metric System Mili- means 1 1000 Kilo- means 1000 Small Distances/Lengths Standard Distances/Lengths Larger Distances/Lengths Millimeters (mm) Centimeters (cm) Meter (m) Kilometers (km)

Let’s look at a Meter Stick
The space marked off is equal to 1 cm This tiny space marked off is 1 mm

So let’s add to our notes:
100 cm = 1 m 1,000 mm = 1 m 1,000 m = 1 km

What kind of items might we measure in
centimeters? Millimeters? Meters? Kilometers?

Measuring Volume Using the Metric System
Mili- means 1 1000 Kilo- means 1000 Small Volumes Standard Volumes Larger Volumes Milliliters (mL) Liter (L) Kiloliter (kL) 1000 mL = 1 L 1000 L = 1 kL

Measuring Mass Using the Metric System
Mili- means 1 1000 Kilo- means 1000 Small Mass Standard Mass Larger Mass Milligrams (mg) Gram (g) Kilograms (kg) 1000 mg = 1 g 1000 g = 1 kg

Since there are currently two systems of measuring this can add to the confusion…
And sometimes misunderstandings about measurements can lead to DISASTER! The engineers and operators who worked on a multimillion dollar spacecraft made such a mistake. Some of them used feet and miles, while others used meters and kilometers…After blastoff the spacecraft was supposed to orbit Mars, but instead it was lost in space forever. True Story !!!

However, even though the metric system has not been adopted by people in the US, most Americans use it everyday. Check your refrigerators, pantries, medicine cabinets and bathrooms.

Measured in grams

Measured in milligrams

Measured in milliliters

Many manufacturers use metric units because they are understood all over the world.

Weight Weight is a measurement of force.
The SI unit for weight is the Newton (N) Weight depends on gravity, which can change depending on where the object is located.

A spring scale measures how a planet’s gravitational force pulls on objects.

Temperature Temperature is related to how hot or cold an object is.
Temperature is measure of the energy of motion of the particles that make up matter. Temperature is measured in SI with the kelvin (K) scale. Although Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature scales are the two most common scales used on thermometers and in classroom laboratories.

Time and Rates Time is the interval between two events. Example:
The time it takes to get from your house to Somerset School. The SI unit of time is the second (s), but time is also measured in hours (h) and minutes (min) Could you imagine hearing that a marathon was run in 7,620 s instead of 2 h and 7 min?

Rate is the amount of change of one measurement in a given amount of time.
Example: The speed of the car through the intersection was clocked at 70 km/h