nifty metric conversion trick

Maybe this won't help anyone but me, but when I figured it out today it was a lightbulb moment and I'll never forget how to convert mg to kg (or whatever). Here goes.
The left hand is viewed as "the big number" (kg, for instance). The right hand is viewed as "the small number" (mg, for instance). I remember this because it's kind of backwards for me as I'm righthanded. Like I said this may not make sense to anyone but me, I'm kinda wacky. Follow along...
If you wanna convert a BIG measurement <waves left hand around> to a SMALL measurement <waves right hand around>, you move the decimal place from LEFT <punches outward with left hand> to RIGHT <punches outward with right hand>.
If you wanna convert a SMALL measurement <right hand> to a BIG measurement <left hand> you move the decimal from RIGHT to LEFT.
It's all in the hands, baby. Once I got the Left=Big, Right=Small thing down, I had no problem remembering which way to move the decimal.
WahLah. I sat there doing metric conversions today, waving my hands around and getting 100% on my quiz. How cool is that.
I had seen various explanations of the concept, but it wasn't until I "visualized" it with my hands that it actually STUCK in my head and was useful. Previously I was always wondering "now which way was it....?"
Hope it helps! :roll 
About NurseWeasel
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Feb 21, '03Not to mention you're getting a great arm workout!
Correct answers and toned arms! What's not to love? :chuckle 


Sep 7, '08That's awesome.
I remember it as Left for Lower and Right for largeR but it's the same thing and it WORKS!! 
Sep 7, '08Ya just think of this: King Henry Doesnt _ Drink Chocolate Milk....Get it?? It starts biggest (Kilo) to smallest (Milli)...the underscore is any thing like (gram) depending on what you are converting...does that make sense?? lol hope it helps!:wink2:

Sep 7, '08Quote from BBStubblesYa just think of this: King Henry Doesnt _ Drink Chocolate Milk....Get it?? It starts biggest (Kilo) to smallest (Milli)...the underscore is any thing like (gram) depending on what you are converting...does that make sense?? lol hope it helps!:wink2:
We learned it "King Henry Died By Drinking Chocolate Milk". Isn't it funny how these things really work, and we remember them!!! lol 
Sep 8, '08If conversion between different magnitudes of metric measurement is an issue for students in higher education, then a great many junior high schools in this country are failing at basic mathematics and science instruction.
Just saying. 
Sep 8, '08Quote from TheSquire:flmngmd:Well if you look at the age of the poster she's 40 (I am 39). I can tell you as a kid in school we NEVER learned the metric system!! Ok, thats a fib, they started trying to teach us for a short time when it was believed that the USA would convert over to the metric system, well as we all know, that never happened, so the schools stopped teaching us that.If conversion between different magnitudes of metric measurement is an issue for students in higher education, then a great many junior high schools in this country are failing at basic mathematics and science instruction.
Just saying.
The younger generations (YOURS) were taught the metric system, so yes, if someone YOUR age had trouble with it then I'd say that something was amiss in the schools. Give us older ones a break. We may not be able to convert metric measurments as easily as you can but we sure as heck can make change without using a cash register or a calculator.
Wow! I guess YOUR schools failed at teaching general manners..like "if you have nothing nice to say dont' say anything at all"
Just saying..... 
Sep 8, '08To the OP
If you don't want to be punching the air and waving away in class :lol: try this way:
if your going from Larger to smaller..take a look at the L in larger..the "tail" part of the L is pointing in the direction the decimal needs to go..to the right (for each measurement you are moving to get to the smaller measurement ie: g to mg is one, kg to mcg would be 3 sets of 3) move the decimal 3 places
3.02g= 3020mg or 3.02g=??mcg you are going from grams to miligrams to micrograms..so you would move the decimal 2 sets of 3
now going from Smaller to larger..again look at the "tail" part of the S in smaller..it points to the left..move the decimal to the left 3 places for every measument you need to move
574630mg=574.63g 
Sep 8, '08thanks for the trick but here is a way i am pretty sure was taught to everyone:
everything is in multiples of tens hense:
10^3 is milli, 10^2 is centi, 10^1 is deci and 10^0 is 1(gram) and bigger is like 10^1 is deca, 10^2 is hecto, and 10^3 is kilo and 10^4 is mega and so forth
so if you think about it anything that is a deca, hecto, kilo, or mega is always going to be bigger that its the others so for example
convert 120000mg> ?kg
since there is 6 powers between milli and kilo you move the decimal over 6 spaces (to the left,"you want to go Large, decimal goes Left")
so the answer is .012kg
to convert from big to small
conver 67km>?cm
since there is 5 powers in between the kilo and centi you move the decimal over 5 spaces (to the right, "if you want to go smalleR, the decimal moves Right") and you get 67,0000
so there if you write all the powers down left to right (milli to mega) then it will make sense and its easy to remember! 
Sep 8, '08Quote from TheSquireI agree with CT Pixie, when we were in school, I think we maybe spent a few days a week at the most in science class learning about BASIC metric conversions, nothing to prepare us for what we are learning now. Each generation is different, and we all bring something different to the table, but I don't believe the schools have failed us.If conversion between different magnitudes of metric measurement is an issue for students in higher education, then a great many junior high schools in this country are failing at basic mathematics and science instruction.
Just saying.