One of the international standards used for conversion is the metric system. It is a decimal system of measurement, that was first adopted by France in the year 1791. It is common in most parts of the world. There are variations used in different countries, however the difference is in the base units, which does not make a difference in daily usage of these.

General Chart

There is one point, which distinguishes the metric system from other measurement systems. It is the single unit used to describe every physical quantity. An example will help in better understanding of the system.

1.234 meters=1234 millimeters
1.234 meters=0.001234 kilometers

The prefixes used in the system are in the powers of ten, that are used for deriving larger, as well as smaller units from the base units. It is important to note that as a normal practice, fractions are not used in the system, because it is more easy and convenient to convert using different multiples in powers of ten rather than using fractions. To avoid decimals, multiples and sub-multiples of seconds are used, for example, nano-second, mega-seconds, etc. There are three basic units, which are a part of the measurement conversion. They are gram, meter, and liter. Meter is used for measuring length, while gram is used to measure weight and for capacity, liter is the unit of measurement. These basic units of measure are the only ones where no prefixes are used. Instead of converting them into another unit, prefixes are appended to the measurement. The prefixes used from the highest to the lowest are:
  • Kilo-
  • Hecto-
  • Deca-
  • Gram / Meter / Liter
  • Deci-
  • Centi-
  • Milli-
The prefix either divides the unit of measure by a power of ten, or multiplies the unit by a positive power of ten.

Measurement Chart for Kids

We have just seen the basics of the metric measurements units and conversions. Now we will see the complete charts which will make understanding and converting an easy task for the kids.

The basic unit of measure to describe length is 'meter', which is abbreviated as 'm'. The abbreviations used for the other units are 'mm' for millimeter, 'cm' for centimeter, 'dm' for decimeter and 'km' for kilometer.

1 Millimeter=0.001 Meter
1 Centimeter=0.01 Meter
1 Decimeter=0.1 Meter
1 Meter
1 Decameter=10 Meters
1 Hectometer=100 Meters
1 Kilometer=1000 Meters

Centimeters= Millimeters/10
Millimeters= Centimeter * 10
Centimeters= Meters * 100
Meters= Centimeters/100
Meters= Millimeters/1000

The standard unit of measurement for volume is 'liter'. Liter is abbreviated as 'l', while the other units of measurement are abbreviated as 'ml' for millimeter, 'cl' for centiliter, 'dl' for deciliter, 'kl' for kiloliter.

1 Milliliter=0.001 Liter
1 Centiliter=0.01 Liter
1 Deciliter=0.1 Liter
1 Liter
1 Decaliter=10 Liters
1 Hectoliter=100 Liters
1 Kiloliter=1000 Liters

'Gram' is the basic unit of measure used to measure mass. The abbreviation used for gram is 'g' and the abbreviations used for the other units are milligram = mg, centigram = cg, decigram = dg, kilogram = kg. Given below is the table for conversion of mass:

1 Milligram=0.001 Gram
1 Centigram=0.01 Gram
1 Decigram=0.1 Gram
1 Gram
1 Decagram=10 Grams
1 Hectogram=100 Grams
1 Kilogram=1000 Grams

Apart from length, mass, and volume, a few more parameters must be known for measurement purposes. They are:


1° celsius=33.8° Fahrenheit
1° celsius=274.15 Kelvin


1 hectare=10,000 square meter
1 square kilometer=10,00,000 square meter


1 kilometer per hour=0.278 meters per second


1 kilowatt=1000 watt


1 megajoule=1000 kilojoules
1 kilojoule=1000 joules

Customary US Units

1 inch=25.4 millimeters
1 foot=12 inches
1 yard=3 feet
1 mile=1760 yards (5280 feet)
1 liter=33.814 fluid ounce
1 ounce=23.35 grams
1 pound=16 ounces
1 kilogram=2.2 pounds
1 ton=2000 pounds

Along with the metric system chart, the kids will also have to be taught how to multiply and divide the units of measures. Using base-ten blocks is often the recommended practice. When they understand the concept of multiplying and dividing the units of measures, they will be able to convert easily and with accuracy.