Metric System of Measurement

What is the Metric System?

The metric system is primarily a system used for measuring length, volume, distance, temperature, and weight. It relies on the three basic units through which anything in the world can be measured. 

Meter(m) - It is used for measuring length

Kilogram (kg) - It is used for measuring mass

Second(s) - it is used to measure time.

The metric system of measurement was introduced in the year 1799. Over several years, this system has been lengthened to integrate many units. Although, numerous variants of this system originated in the late 19th and early 20th century. The term metric system is another word for SI or the International systems of India.

SI Unit Metric System

The standard International System of Units ( SI Units) provides an accurate definition for meter, kilograms, and the seconds. It also describes and states four different additional units such as:

  • Candela - Luminous intensity

  • Ampere - Electric Current

  • Kelvin - Temperature 

  • Mole - Material Quantity

Metric Number Prefixes

Metric number prefixes can be used to measure very small or big things. For example- Kilo and Milli.

Common Metric Conversion Units

Here are some of the common metric conversion units that are based on the Kilogram,  meters and seconds.

Area = Square meters ( area=length x length) Hence, the basic unit of measuring area is metres by metres = m²

Volume = cubic  meters ( Volume=length x length) Hence, the basic unit of measuring volume is m³ ( cubic metres).

Liter = One-thousandth of a cubic  meters ( 1m³ = 1000 liters). Hence, 1 liter= 1/1000 m³

Time = Hour ( 1 hour= 60 mins, 1 minute= 60 seconds) Hence, 1 hour = 60 x 60=3600 seconds

Day = ( 1day = 24 hours) Hence, 1 day = 24 x 60 x60 = 86400 seconds.

Metric Units

Here are Some Common Metric Units to Remember


Name of units












10mm   = 1cm

100cm  =  1m

1000m  =  1km










1000mg = 1g

1000g  = 1kg

1000kg = 1t










60s = 1min

60min = 1h

24h = 1day


Degree Celsius


Cubic millimeters

Cubic centimetres

Cubic metres



1 cm³ = 1000m³

1m³ = 1,000,000 cm³


Square millimeters

Square centimeters

Square metres




1 cm2 = 100 mm2

1 m2 = 10,000 cm2

1 ha2 = 10,000 m2








1000 ml = 1 L

1000 L  = 1kL

Units mentioned in bold are standard units

Metric System Conversion

Here, you learn metric system conversion of smaller to bigger units and bigger to smaller units.

The conversion of a smaller unit to a  bigger unit is similar to the conversion method of a bigger unit to a smaller unit. While converting a bigger unit to a smaller unit, ,you move the decimal point to the right side which implies that you multiply the factor but when you convert a smaller unit to a bigger one, you move the decimal point to the left side which implies that you divide the factors.

Solved Example for Metric Conversion of Bigger Unit to the Smaller Unit

  1. Convert 10.20  kilograms( bigger unit)  to grams (smaller unit)

Solution: As, we are converting a bigger unit to a smaller unit, we will multiply by the factor and move the decimal point to the right


10.20 kg x 1000 = 10200 g

Solved Example for Metric Conversion of a Smaller Unit to a Bigger Unit

  1. Convert 730 centigrams to grams

Solution: As,we are converting a smaller unit to a bigger unit, we will divide by the factor and move the decimal point to the left side


730 cg ÷ 100 = 7.30 g

Metric System Conversion Table

Here is a metric system conversion table which helps you to solve the questions based on metric system conversion

Solved Example

  1. Convert 4 Kilometers to meters

Solution: To convert kilometers to meters, we will jump 3 times from kilometers to reach the meters

Accordingly, we will multiply by 10³ = 1000

So, 4km = 4 x 1000= 4000 metres

  1. Convert 6250 milligrams to grams

Solution: As we know, one gram is 1000 times larger than a milligram. Accordingly,  

1 gram = 1000 mg


1 mg = 1/1000 gms

6250 mg= 6250/1000 gms

Hence, 6250 = 6.250 gms


  • A metric system of measurement was introduced in the 1790s in France.

  • The centimeter gram second or meter kilogram second was primarily used until the establishment of the international system of the unit in 1960.

Quiz Time

  1. What is 0.005 ml?

  1. 0.00005 liters

  2. 5 liters

  3. 50 liters

  4. 0.0005 liters

     2. 20 gram is similar to

  1. 2000 mg

  2. 20000 mg

  3. 200000 mg

  4. 200 mg

      3.  A cubic centimeter is used to measure

  1. Length

  2. Volume

  3. Mass

  4. Density

    4.    Convert 560 mg to g

  1. 506 g

  2. 0.0056 g

  3. 56000 g

  4. 0.56 g


    5.   Which is a base unit in the metric system?

  1. Meter

  2. Liter

  3. Gram

  4. All of the above

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Explain Metric Units with Examples.

In Mathematics, we stumble across various physical quantities such as length, weight, temperature, mass, etc. These quantities are linked with some magnitude along with some physical units. A Magnitude is merely a constant number whereas the unit is merely considered as a standard on the basis of which the magnitude has been expressed. Every physical quantity has a predetermined unit of measurement. Metric Unit is the most common topic in Mathematics. The metric system is stated as an international decimal system of measuring physical quantities. Metric unit or metric measurement unit are used for computing units of other quantities, Metric unit is the most common method of measuring distinct types of units throughout the world. These are widely used scientifically, personnel as well as commercially.

Metric units are the base units that are used to develop other larger and smaller units from the standard set of prefixes in powers of 10. Metric systems of units also represented as SI systems. It defines 7 basic units such as length, mass, time, temperature, electric current, amount of substance along luminous intensity. The units of all other quantities are obtained from these 7 units.

2. Explain the Importance of a Standard Unit of Measurement?

Imagine a situation, when a lady wants to purchase a red color handbag, so she goes to a store to purchase it. The shopkeeper speaks only in English. The lady says, “Ich Mochte Rote Farbe Tasche”. The shopkeeper says,“What”!.The lady asked for a red handbag but she said in German. But the shopkeeper  didn't understand her language as it was not a standard language.

Similarly, there are multiple systems and units in place for measuring different quantities such as length, area, mass, volume and many other things. For example- One acre is a common unit of measuring area in India. If you look at the metric system, you will find Oce acre around 4047 square metre. Now, you must have understood how difficult it would be to measure if there were no development of a standard unit of measurement.