# Metric Units of Length

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1 7.2 Metric Units of Length 7.2 OBJECTIVES. Know the meaning of metric prefixes 2. Estimate metric units of length 3. Convert metric units of length NOTE Even in the United States, the metric system is used in science, medicine, the automotive industry, the food industry, and many other areas. NOTE The basic unit of length in the metric system is also spelled metre (the British spelling). NOTE In the metric system, you don t have to worry about things like 2 in. to foot, 5280 ft to mile, and all that. NOTE The meter is one of the basic units of the International System of Units (abbreviated SI). This is a standardization of the metric system agreed to by scientists in 960. NOTE There is a standard pattern of abbreviation in the metric system. We will introduce the abbreviation for each term as we go along. The abbreviation for meter is m (no period!). In Section 7. we studied the English system of measurement, which is used in the United States and a few other countries. Our work will now concentrate on the metric system, used throughout the rest of the world. The metric system is based on one unit of length, the meter (m). In the eighteenth century the meter was defined to be one ten-millionth of the distance from the north pole to the equator. Today the meter is scientifically defined in terms of a wavelength in the spectrum of krypton-86 gas. One big advantage of the metric system is that you can convert from one unit to another by simply multiplying or dividing by powers of 0. This advantage and the need for uniformity throughout the world have led to legislation that will promote the use of the metric system in the United States. Let s see how the metric system works. We will start with measures of length and compare a basic English unit, the yard, with the meter. yd 36 in. meter (m) in. As you can see, the meter is just slightly longer than the yard. It is used for measuring the same things you might measure in feet or yards. Look at Example to get a feel for the size of the meter. Example Estimating Metric Length A room might be 6 meters (6 m) long. A building lot could be 30 m wide. A fence is 2 m tall. CHECK YOURSELF Try to estimate the following lengths in meters. (a) A traffic lane is m wide. (b) A small car is m long. (c) You are m tall. 55

2 552 CHAPTER 7 GEOMETRY AND MEASURE For other units of length, the meter is multiplied or divided by powers of 0. One commonly used unit is the centimeter (cm). Comparing Centimeters (cm) to Meters (m) NOTE The prefix centi means one hundredth. This should be no surprise. What is our cent? It is one hundredth of a dollar. centimeter (cm) meter (m) 00 The drawing below relates the centimeter and the meter: m cm There are 00 cm in m. Just to give you an idea of the size of the centimeter, it is about the width of your little finger. There are about 2 cm to in., and the unit is used to measure small objects. Look 2 at Example 2 to get a feel for the length of a centimeter. Example 2 Estimating Metric Length A small paperback book is 0 cm wide. A playing card is 8 cm long. A ballpoint pen is 6 cm long. CHECK YOURSELF 2 Try to estimate each of the following. Then use a metric ruler to check your guess. (a) This page is cm long. (b) A dollar bill is cm long. (c) The seat of the chair you are on is cm from the floor. NOTE The prefix milli means one thousandth. To measure very small things, the millimeter (mm) is used. To give you an idea of its size, the millimeter is about the thickness of a new dime. millimeter (mm) m 000 Comparing Millimeters (mm) to Meters (m)

3 METRIC UNITS OF LENGTH SECTION The diagram below will help you see the relationships of the three units we have looked at. NOTE Notice that there are 0 mm to cm. m mm cm To get used to the millimeter, consider Example 3. Example 3 Estimating Metric Length Standard camera film is 35 mm wide. A small paper clip is 5 mm wide. Some cigarettes are 00 mm long. CHECK YOURSELF 3 Try to estimate each of the following. Then use a metric ruler to check your guess. (a) Your pencil is mm wide. (b) The tabletop you are working on is mm thick. The kilometer (km) is used to measure long distances. The kilometer is about six-tenths of a mile. Comparing Kilometers (km) to Meters (m) NOTE The prefix kilo means 000. You are already familiar with this. For instance, kilowatt (kw) 000 watts (W). kilometer (km) 000 m Example 4 shows how to get used to the kilometer. Example 4 Estimating Metric Length The distance from New York to Boston is 325 km. A popular distance for road races is 0 km. Now that you have seen the four commonly used units of length in the metric system, you can review with the following Check Yourself exercise.

4 554 CHAPTER 7 GEOMETRY AND MEASURE CHECK YOURSELF 4 Choose the most reasonable measure in each of the following statements. (a) The width of a doorway: 50 mm, m, or 50 cm. (b) The length of your pencil: 20 m, 20 mm, or 20 cm. (c) The distance from your house to school: 500 km, 5 km, or 50 m. (d) The height of a basketball center: 2.2 m, 22 m, or 22 cm. (e) The width of a matchbook: 30 cm, 30 mm, or 3 mm. NOTE Of course, this is easy. All we need to do is move the decimal point to the right or left the required number of places. Again, that s the big advantage of the metric system. NOTE The smaller the unit, the more units it takes, so multiply. As we said earlier, to convert units of measure within the metric system, all we have to do is multiply or divide by the appropriate power of 0. Converting Metric Measurements to Smaller Units To convert to a smaller unit of measure, we multiply by a power of 0, moving the decimal point to the right. Example 5 Converting Metric Length 5.2 m 520 cm Multiply by 00 to convert from meters to centimeters. 8 km 8000 m Multiply by m 6500 mm Multiply by cm 25 mm Multiply by 0. CHECK YOURSELF 5 Complete the following. Remember, you don t need to do any calculation. Just move the decimal point the appropriate number of places, and write the answer. NOTE The larger the unit, the fewer units it takes, so divide. (a) 3 km m (c).2 m mm Converting Metric Measurements to Larger Units (b) 4.5 m cm (d) 6.5 cm mm To convert to a larger unit of measure, we divide by a power of 0, moving the decimal point to the left.

5 METRIC UNITS OF LENGTH SECTION Example 6 Converting Metric Length 43 mm 4.3 cm Divide by m 3 km Divide by cm 4.5 m Divide by 00. CHECK YOURSELF 6 Complete the following statements. (a) 750 cm m (c) 78 mm cm (b) 5000 m km (d) 3500 mm m We have introduced all the commonly used units of linear measure in the metric system. There are other prefixes that can be used to form other linear measures. The prefix deci means, deka means times 0, and hecto means times 00. Their use is illustrated 0 in the following table. Using Metric Prefixes millimeter (mm) m 000 centimeter (cm) m 00 decimeter (dm) m 0 meter (m) dekameter (dam) 0 m hectometer (hm) 00 m kilometer (km) 000 m You may find the following chart helpful when converting between metric units. mm 0.00 m To convert to larger units move the decimal point to the left. cm 0.0 m dm 0. m m m dam 0 m hm 00 m To convert to smaller units move the decimal point to the right. km 000 m To convert between metric units, just move the decimal point to the left or right the number of places indicated by the chart.

6 556 CHAPTER 7 GEOMETRY AND MEASURE Example 7 Converting Between Metric Lengths (a) 800 cm? m To convert from centimeters to meters, you can see from the chart that you must move the decimal point two places to the left. 800 cm 8^ 00 m 8 m (b) 500 m? km To convert from meters to kilometers, move the decimal point three places to the left. 500 m ^500 km 0.5 km (c) 6 m? mm To convert from meters to millimeters, move the decimal point three places to the right. 6 m 6000 mm ^ CHECK YOURSELF 7 Complete each statement. (a) 300 cm m (c) 4500 m km (b) 370 mm m CHECK YOURSELF ANSWERS. (a) About 3 m; (b) perhaps 5 m; (c) You are probably between.5 and 2 m tall. 2. (a) About 28 cm; (b) almost 6 cm; (c) about 45 cm 3. (a) About 8 mm; (b) probably between 25 and 30 mm 4. (a) m; (b) 20 cm; (c) 5 km; (d) 2.2 m; (e) 30 mm 5. (a) 3000 m; (b) 450 cm; (c) 200 mm; (d) 65 mm 6. (a) 7.5 m; (b) 5 km; (c) 7.8 cm; (d) 3.5 m 7. (a) 3 m; (b) 0.37 m; (c) 4.5 km

7 Name 7.2 Exercises Section Date Choose the most reasonable measure.. The height of a ceiling 2. The diameter of a quarter ANSWERS (a) 25 m (b) 2.5 m (c) 25 cm (a) 24 mm (b) 2.4 mm (c) 24 cm The height of a kitchen 4. The diagonal measure of a television counter screen (a) 9 m (a) 50 mm (b) 9 cm (b) 50 cm (c) 90 cm (c) 5 m 5. The height of a two-story building 6. An hour s drive on a freeway (a) 7 m (a) 9 km (b) 70 m (b) 90 m (c) 70 cm (c) 90 km 7. The width of a roll of cellophane tape 8. The width of a sheet of typing paper (a).27 mm (b) 2.7 mm (c) 2.7 cm (a) 2.6 cm (b) 2.6 mm (c) 2.6 cm The thickness of window glass 0. The height of a refrigerator (a) 5 mm (b) 5 cm (c) 50 mm (a) 6 m (b) 6 cm (c) 60 cm. The length of a ballpoint 2. The width of a hand-held pen calculator key (a) 6 mm (a).2 mm (b) 6 m (b) 2 mm (c) 6 cm (c) 2 cm Complete each statement, using a metric unit of length. 3. A playing card is 6 wide. 4. The diameter of a penny is

8 ANSWERS A doorway is 2 high. 6. A table knife is 22 long A basketball court is 28 long. 8. A commercial jet flies 800 per hour The width of a nail file is The distance from New York to Washington, D.C., is A recreation room is 6 long. 22. A ruler is 22 wide. 23. A long-distance run is A paperback book is wide. Complete each statement mm m cm m m cm mm cm km cm cm m cm mm mm m m km m cm cm mm cm mm km m m km m mm km m 558

9 ANSWERS Use a metric ruler to measure the necessary dimensions, and complete the statements. 4. The perimeter of the parallelogram is cm The perimeter of the triangle is mm The perimeter of the rectangle below is cm. 44. Its area is cm The perimeter of the square below is mm. 46. The area of the square in exercise 45 is mm The circumference of the circle below is mm. 559

10 ANSWERS The area of the circle in exercise 47 is mm (a) Determine the world record speed for both men and women in meters per second (m/s) for the following events: 00-, 400-, 500-, and 5000-m run. The record times can be found at (b) Rank all the speeds obtained in order from fastest to slowest. 50. What units in the metric system would you use to measure each of the following quantities? (a) Distance from Los Angeles to New York (b) Your waist measurement (c) Width of a hair (d) Your height Answers. (b) 3. (c) 5. (a) 7. (b) 9. (a). (c) 3. cm 5. m 7. m 9. mm 2. m 23. km ,000,

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