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ZingPath: Proportions and Measurement

Conversion of Volume Measures

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Lesson Focus

Conversion of Volume Measures

Math Foundations

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You will practice simple metric conversions involving the volume of a container.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Make metric conversions involving volume measures.

Everything You'll Have Covered

In order for students to be successful with this Activity Object, they will need to know the various terms for the metric measures of volume as well as the process for converting one metric unit to another metric unit. It is strongly suggested that students explore this Activity Object after they have learned how to convert metric units of volume.

The Metric System uses a base-ten system. By multiplying or dividing by 10, you can convert any metric unit to another metric unit.

The metric system was devised in France in the 18th century. The goal was to replace the inconsistent collection of units being used with a system based on one standard.

The standard for length was created by dividing the quarter of the Earth diameter by ten millions. The resulting length was named meter. The definition of meter changed several times since to make it more precise. The latest and the most precise definition of meter is "the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 second". The standards for other measurements in metric system were set in a similar way.

The metric system, or International System of Units (SI), is based on seven base units. The quantities are: length (meter), mass (kilogram), time (second), electric current (ampere), thermodynamic temperature (kelvin), amount of substance (mole), and luminous intensity (candela).

To convert from a larger to smaller metric unit you always multiply. To convert from a smaller to larger unit you always divide.

The Latin prefixes used in the metric system literally mean the number they represent. For example, 1 kilogram = 1,000 grams. A kilo is 1,000 of something just like a dozen is 12 of something. Meter, liter, or gram can be used interchangeably.  In this Activity Object, we will focus on volume measurement units such as liters or cubic centimeters.

Using the metric conversion stair chart above, for every step upward on the chart you are dividing by 10 or moving the decimal one place to the left. Likewise, for every step downward on the chart you are multiplying by 10 or moving the decimal one place to the right.

Example 1:

To convert 1,000 milliliters to liters you are moving upward on the stairs.  Pretend you are standing on the milliliter stair and to get to the 1 liter stair you move up 3 steps dividing by 10 each time.

1,000 ÷ 10 = 100         100 ÷ 10 = 10     10 ÷ 10 = 1

OR

1,000 ÷ 103 = 1

You can also use the shortcut and just move the decimal place one place to the left with each step

1,000 milliliter = 1 liter 

Example 2:

When you move down the stairs you are multiplying by 10 for each step. Basically, you are adding a zero to your original number and moving the decimal one place to the right with each step.

To convert 1 liter to 1,000 milliliters you are moving downward on the stairs. Pretend you are standing on the liter stair and to get to the milliliter stair you go down 3 steps, multiplying by 10 each time.

1 × 10 = 10         10 × 10 = 10     100 × 10 = 1,000

OR

1 × 103 = 1,000

You can also use the shortcut and just move the decimal place one place to the right with each step.

1 liter = 1,000 milliliters

Meters and liters measure volume and liquid capacity.

Volume is typically measured using cubic meter units such as cubic centimeters. Likewise, liquid capacity is typically measured using liter units such as milliliter. In this Activity Object, students will determine the volume or liquid capacity of the containers provided. Therefore, typical volume or liquid capacity can be used including liters, milliliters, cubic centimeters, and cubic millimeters. The cubic centimeter (cm3) is, by definition, equal to a milliliter (mL). Since there are 1000 mL to the liter (L), there are 1000 cm3 per liter.

1L = 1,000 mL

1m3 = 1,000 L

1m3 = 1,000,000 cm3

When working with metric units, consider the following pre-fixes and their meanings when the unit is a LITER:

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 15 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be familiar with metric volume measures and unit conversions in metric volume measures.
Course Math Foundations
Type of Tutorial Skills Application
Key Vocabulary measurement, volume, metric conversions