# Math Conversion-Metric system Help!!!!!!!

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Hi! I am really having a hard time with the metric system. I am taking biology in the Fall and I just cant figure out these metric conversions. Can anyone please recomend sites, books, notes, etc, that will help me understand how to do math conversions? Thanks in advance.

245 Posts

Might sound kinda dumb but it works for me. For micro my friend taught me this easy trick to do it. "Never Underestimate My Cousin Deryl's M K". N-nano U-the U to abrev micro M-milli C-centi D-deci M-meters K-kilo.....and think of it as 3,3,1,1,1,3. N3U3M1C1D1M3K.

Start with what you want, and go to where you started it from. Think of a number line. The left is always Negative and going to the right is Positive. Count how many numbers you go through to start back where you came from and that is the exponent you need. You add that from the one given to you in the problem, and that is your answer.

Example. 2.4 to the 10th power lets say that exponent is (3) km. and i want to go to millimeters. I go to km and work my way back to mm. That number is 9, since im going left that number is -9. so 3+(-9) is (-6). The answer is 2.4 to the 10th power exponent is -6 mm.

I hope this totally helps, and didnt confuse you even more! I struggled with metrics til I got in to microbiology. Our professor drilled us everyday with them. This tid bit of info helped me get A's on all my metric quizzes. Hope it helps!!

309 Posts

Metric conversions from one metric unit to another metric unit are based on multiples of 10. I use an acronym to remember the metric prefixes. King Henry Died By Drinking Contaminated Milk. K=kilo, H=hecto, D=deca, B= base unit (meter, liter, or gram), D=deci, C=centi, M=milli. This is the order from largest to smallest. Think of the base unit as being 1 for instance. In this example we will use meters. So we have 1 meter. How many hectometers are in 1 meter? write down 1 and then move the decimal place to the left two places (the number of spots over in the acronym from the base unit to get to hecto) 1.0 meters = 0.01 hectometers. Just moved the decimal place two spots to the left. So how many centimeters are in 1 meter? 1.0 meters = 100 centimeters. Just moved the decimal two spots to the right. (the number of spots over in the acronym from the base unit to get to centi) It works the same for liters and grams (meters, liters, or grams being the Base unit). Hopefully that isn't too confusing.

Conversion from customary units of measure to metric are harder and honestly just require memorization of the conversion factors. For instance, how many kilograms does someone weigh who is 176 lbs? Take 176 lbs and divide by 2.2 (the conversion factor). The answer is 80 kg. How many pounds does someone weight who is 72kg? Take 72 kg and multiply by 2.2. The answer is 158.4 lbs. You need to have memorized that there are 2.2 lbs in a kg to be able to answer these problems.

I'm not completely sure what you were asking as far as metric conversions, but maybe that helped. Best of luck!

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173 Posts

where can I learn the conversion factors I am taking principles of biology and fundamentals of chem which is chem 100 I am not sure which ones I need to know

457 Posts

where can I learn the conversion factors I am taking principles of biology and fundamentals of chem which is chem 100 I am not sure which ones I need to know

In my class what we needed to know was printed on the last page of our book.

173 Posts

Might sound kinda dumb but it works for me. For micro my friend taught me this easy trick to do it. "Never Underestimate My Cousin Deryl's M K". N-nano U-the U to abrev micro M-milli C-centi D-deci M-meters K-kilo.....and think of it as 3,3,1,1,1,3. N3U3M1C1D1M3K.

Start with what you want, and go to where you started it from. Think of a number line. The left is always Negative and going to the right is Positive. Count how many numbers you go through to start back where you came from and that is the exponent you need. You add that from the one given to you in the problem, and that is your answer.

Example. 2.4 to the 10th power lets say that exponent is (3) km. and i want to go to millimeters. I go to km and work my way back to mm. That number is 9, since im going left that number is -9. so 3+(-9) is (-6). The answer is 2.4 to the 10th power exponent is -6 mm.

I hope this totally helps, and didnt confuse you even more! I struggled with metrics til I got in to microbiology. Our professor drilled us everyday with them. This tid bit of info helped me get A's on all my metric quizzes. Hope it helps!!

I am very confused. Is this metric conversions?

245 Posts

determined_30 yes it is, we use metric conversions in our microlab... So far this has been the only thing that has helped me. Sorry if I confused you!!

3,152 Posts

Specializes in Hospitalist Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

Use dimensional analysis to easily convert. It's the easiest way to see if you're going the right direction. If 1 kilogram = 1000 grams and 1 gram = 1000 milligrams, how many milligrams are in a 0.005 kilogram sample? Set up your dimensional analysis by converting these to fractions and cancel out the unnecessary factors. You're given a 0.005 kilogram sample and you need to end up with milligrams. Set up your conversion in order as follows:

0.005 kilograms x (1000 grams/1 kilogram) x (1000 milligrams/1 gram) = 5000 milligrams

See how the kilograms cancel each other out and the grams cancel each other out in the fractions? That's how you get from kilograms to milligrams. You can do this with ANY conversion and will be of the utmost importance when you take Pharmacology and have to determine dosaging equations, especially for IV drips!

You will also use this extensively in Chemistry (grams per mol, mol per liter, etc.)

173 Posts

Metric conversions from one metric unit to another metric unit are based on multiples of 10. I use an acronym to remember the metric prefixes. King Henry Died By Drinking Contaminated Milk. K=kilo, H=hecto, D=deca, B= base unit (meter, liter, or gram), D=deci, C=centi, M=milli. This is the order from largest to smallest. Think of the base unit as being 1 for instance. In this example we will use meters. So we have 1 meter. How many hectometers are in 1 meter? write down 1 and then move the decimal place to the left two places (the number of spots over in the acronym from the base unit to get to hecto) 1.0 meters = 0.01 hectometers. Just moved the decimal place two spots to the left. So how many centimeters are in 1 meter? 1.0 meters = 100 centimeters. Just moved the decimal two spots to the right. (the number of spots over in the acronym from the base unit to get to centi) It works the same for liters and grams (meters, liters, or grams being the Base unit). Hopefully that isn't too confusing.

Conversion from customary units of measure to metric are harder and honestly just require memorization of the conversion factors. For instance, how many kilograms does someone weigh who is 176 lbs? Take 176 lbs and divide by 2.2 (the conversion factor). The answer is 80 kg. How many pounds does someone weight who is 72kg? Take 72 kg and multiply by 2.2. The answer is 158.4 lbs. You need to have memorized that there are 2.2 lbs in a kg to be able to answer these problems.

I'm not completely sure what you were asking as far as metric conversions, but maybe that helped. Best of luck!

What if you are converting yards or something that is not shown on the chart ?

3,152 Posts

Specializes in Hospitalist Medicine. Has 8 years experience.
What if you are converting yards or something that is not shown on the chart ?

1 yard = 3 feet, 1 foot = 12 inches, 1 inch = 2.54 cm, 1 m = 100 cm. So, if you're given something like convert 3 yards to meters, you would set up as follows:

(3*3*12*2.54)/100 = 2.74

Using dimensional analysis to "see" the answer:

3 yards x (3 feet/1 yard) x (12 inches/1 foot) x (2.54 cm/1 inch) x (1 m/100 cm) = 2.74 meters

Does that make sense? See how in the dimensional analysis, you start with yards and cancel out factors with multiplication of conversion factors? Yards cancel out to give feet, feet cancel out to give inches, inches cancel out to give centimeters, centimeters cancel out to give meters, which is what you're looking for.

173 Posts

1 yard = 3 feet, 1 foot = 12 inches, 1 inch = 2.54 cm, 1 m = 100 cm. So, if you're given something like convert 3 yards to meters, you would set up as follows:

(3*3*12*2.54)/100 = 2.74

Using dimensional analysis to "see" the answer:

3 yards x (3 feet/1 yard) x (12 inches/1 foot) x (2.54 cm/1 inch) x (1 m/100 cm) = 2.74 meters

Does that make sense? See how in the dimensional analysis, you start with yards and cancel out factors with multiplication of conversion factors? Yards cancel out to give feet, feet cancel out to give inches, inches cancel out to give centimeters, centimeters cancel out to give meters, which is what you're looking for.

ok so are you suppose to memorize the first line you wrote I am sorry I have not been in school for a long time and I don't remember any of this

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