ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Converting within the Metric System using the Metric Staircase

Updated on April 8, 2012
Metric Staircase
Metric Staircase | Source

Welcome to the Wolrd of Metric

Converting from one unit to another in the metric system is easy as a staircase. Once you know and can visualize the steps everything else will fall into place.

The staircase represent how the different units within the metric system are related. The main units - meter, liter, & gram are the middle step. All of the units above and below the base units are the prefixes that attach to the main unit to differentiate between the units.

For example, 1 meter is equal to 1000 millimeters. 1 gram is equal to 0.001 kilograms.

In order to convert from one metric unit to the other you follow the staircase. When moving down the staircase you multiply by 10 for each step you go down. When going up the staircase you divide by 10 for each step you go up.

Converting Metric System

Converting Metric System
Converting Metric System | Source
Converting Metric System
Converting Metric System | Source

A few examples

#1 Convert 4.5 m to cm

We are going from meters to centimeters. That will bring us down two steps. 10X10 =100

So we will multiply 4.5 by 100.

4.5 x 100 = 450 cm

450 cm

#2 Convert 0.4 kg to g

we are converting kilogram to grams. That will bring us down three steps. 10 x 10 x 10 = 1000

0.4 x 1000 = 400g


#3 Convert 65000mL to L

We are converting milliliters to Liters. That will bring us up three steps. divide by 1000

65000 ÷ 1000 = 65 L


The Metric System

While our students in the US struggle with understanding the Metric system it is extremely important in this ever changing world that we recognize that Metric is the international form of measurement and we are behind the times.

The base 10 system of the metric conversion is much simpler to use then the US customary system and should be taught thoroughly in schools. The mathematical understand that a young student can learn from this base 10 system is essential for higher elements in mathematical thinking and understanding.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      16 months ago

      Sorry I'm commenting after you posted this 6 years ago, but this is wrong

      kilo = 1000

      hecto = 100

      deka = 10

      deci = 0.1

      centi = 0.01

      milli = 0.001

      larger units typically start on the left and gradually move to the smaller units on the right

      (but in this case since i typed it downwards the larger units descend to the smaller units)

    • kthix10 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from IL

      Mega would be up an additional 3 steps above kilo and micro would be down an additional 3 steps below milli. Although most basic classes don't use those so they were not included in the article.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i really lik the stairs instead of remembering these up and down lik my teacher wants but wat bout mega and micro?

    • kthix10 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from IL

      Actually I would prefer if you don't copy my article completely. While you did reference it you also copy and pasted my exact words into your own blog and did not properly link or credit my images.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      posting this on my education blog with a direct link back to you! thank you for the information- i couldn't have said it better myself!

    • kthix10 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from IL

      Thanks - I am really excited about the new visuals program I was able to add to my home computer, it makes writing math hubs so much easier

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 years ago from Dubai

      This is a very clear explanation and easy to follow. Voted up.

    • kthix10 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from IL

      It is wonderful when teachers give great lessons that we can hold onto years afterward. I have a friend that is a rapping French teacher and I think her students will forever remember some of her lessons

    • yougotme profile image

      Renz Kristofer Cheng 

      8 years ago from Manila

      In High School, we learned that through a song. And I could say it was effective. I still remember the song right now, and it facilitates my conversion. :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)