Converting Measurements in the Metric System

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When converting measurements in the metric system, it's helpful to keep in mind the associations between the units. Convert miles to kilometers with help from a math teacher in this free video on basic math lessons.

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Video Transcript

So, how do you convert measurements in the metric system? Hi, my name is Jimmy Chang. I've been teaching college mathematics for nine years, and as you know, we here in the U.S. use the English system, compared to a lot of other countries which use the metric system. So, how would you convert from one unit to the next? Now, there's a couple of examples that we're going to talk about, but keep in mind that there are an a lot of conversions to go from the English system to the metric. But, the important thing is you really have to keep in mind the associations between the units. In other words, there's a lot of little formulas that you will need to know to convert from one to the other. But, here's a couple of illustrations for you just to get you started. Now, one example is that 1inch is approximately 2.54 centimeters. Now, the meter is what's used in the metric system; whereas we here use inches. Now, suppose you want to convert 6 inches to centimeters? So, what you want to do first is start off with 6 inches, and then what you're going to use what's called unit fractions. Now, since you want to convert 2 centimeters the centimeter is going to be on top, and then inches will be on the bottom. Now, what you want to do is plug in the numbers on the unit fraction. Now, for centimeter, again, we said it was 2.54, and then inch the number next to it is 1. Now, what's going to happen here is that the inches are going to cancel, and so what you have to do, and this is where a calculator becomes very handy, is 6 times 2.54 centimeters. So, use a calculator to find out what that is, and you'll be good to go. Now, another conversion that we'll talk about today is the difference between miles and kilometers. Now, 1 mile is approximately equal to 1.8 kilometers. Now, suppose you want to convert 3 miles to kilometers? Again, like the previous example, here's how you do it. You start off with 3 miles, and then start your unit fraction again. Since you want kilometers at the very end that'll be on top. The miles will be on bottom. Again, plug in the numbers; 1.8 for kilometers and 1 for the miles. What's going to happen here is that the miles will cancel, and you will multiply 3 times 1.8 kilometers. And so, as a result when you multiply you will get 5.4 kilometers. So, with the help of unit fractions you can definitely know how to convert to metric system. So, my name is Jimmy Chang, and that is how you convert in the metric system.


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