Scientific Measurement


The metric system is a method for measuring data used worldwide.  It is the system of measurement used by all scientists. In this lesson we will be researching and practicing the elements of the metric system.

You will:

  • Use tools to convert between American Standard and the Metric system.
  • Convert base metric units to smaller and larger metric units.
  • Use tools to estimate of metric measurements.
  • Create a PowerPoint presentation that will show what you have learned about the metric systems use in science.

Join up with a partner and start. Remember to save your results to the PowerPoint template.

Be sure to review the rubric that will be used to assess the results of this lesson. It will take you three days to complete the lesson. Make sure that you save your presentation often.


To begin download the lesson presentation template. Complete the cards in the PowerPoint.

The metric system is managed by an international group that coordinates standards between countries. The system is called the International System of Unit (SI).

The history of the metric system in the United States is a long one. All you need to know about the metric system available through the National Institute of Standards Technology.

SI defines several base units of measure. Additionally, to the base measures the metric system uses regular prefixes.

Base measures




Derived measures






Fahrenheit Scale

Celcius Scale

The conversion between the American Standard and metric system can be estimated using the following charts.

Conversion Charts:

When you know American Standard units of measures.

When you know Metric units of measures.

Use the Metric Ladder to help with metric conversions between metric measures.


Will you measure up?

Calculate meters

Image courtesy of the Citncy of San Francisco web site

The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening into the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. It connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and a portion of the south-facing Marin County headlands near the small bayside town of Sausalito, and is located at 37° 49′12″N, 122° 28′43″W.

The entire bridge including the approach spans is 1.7 miles long; the distance between the towers ("main span") is 4200 feet, and the clearance below the bridge is 220 ft at mean higher high water. The two towers rise 746 feet above the water. The diameter of the main suspension cables is 36 inches. (Wikipedia)

Given the measure above complete the conversion of miles to kilometers, feet to meters, and inches to centimeters.

Measuring volume of a regularly shaped object

Volume is the amount of space that something occupies. The volume of a regularly shaped objects such as a flower box is measured by using the formula width (W) times height (H) times length (L).

What would be the volume of a box 3 meter by 1 meter by 5 meters (W x H x L). The units would be represented by cubic meters or m3?

Measuring volume of a regularly shaped object

Irregularly shaped objects volume is determined by using a technique called displacement. A beaker contain 100 ml of water. If we place a Christmas ornament into the beaker and the water level rises to 110 ml. What is the volume of the ornament.

Measuring mass

What device would you use to measure mass?

Measuring weight

What would you use to measure the weight of 2 liter bottle of Mountain Due?

Calculating density

Use the density found in the ornament above and calculate its density if the mass is 5 kg.

Measurement Video (Requires Microsoft Media Player)

Scientific Method and Measurement. United Learning (1993). Retrieved December 4, 2005, from unitedstreaming:

Done Early...

Make a list of companies that use the metric system. Include pictures and description of their products in your presentation.

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Last modified: 5/30/2012