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Study Guide : Conversion of Units

Learner Guide

Conversion of Units

In the UK, we use the metric scale for measurements. For different

measurements, there will be different units.


For length, we can use millimetres (mm), centimetres (cm), metres (m) or

kilometres (km). The unit we use depends on the length of what we are

 measuring – for example, it would be a little bit silly to use millimetres to 

measure the distance between London and Paris.


For mass (how much something weighs), we can use the units of grams (g), 

kilograms (kg) and tonnes (t).For capacity (how much liquid is held), we can

use millilitres (ml), centilitres (cl) or litres (l).


Sometimes we need to be able to convert between different units, so it is

important to know how much of one unit makes up another.


If you want to convert between units, you first have to look at the converting

fact of those units. Going from a larger unit (like litres ) to a smaller unit (like

millilitres) is always multiplication and going from a smaller unit to a larger

unit is always division.


Example 1.

Let’s say that the question is asking us to convert 382g into kg.

We have to find the conversion fact for grams to kilograms

1000g = 1kg

Next, we have to decide if the unit are becoming smaller or bigger,

so we know whether to multiply or divide. Kilograms are bigger than grams so we have to divide.

Finally we can do the sum (We divide by 1000 because kg is 1000x bigger).

382 ÷ 1000 = 0.382 kg

There is also another method of measurement which is used less frequently nowadays called the Imperial scale. We still need to know how to convert some metric measurements to Imperial measurements and back, though. This table shows some of the most common conversions.


If we want to convert between units that do not convert easily like multiplying

by ten or hundred, there is another method we can use.


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Related Topics

probability                                           division-calculations

multiplying-and-divide                     measures-problems


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