Converting 1 kg to g: How-to & Tutorial

Instructor: Julie Zundel

Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.

Converting between units can be confusing and frustrating. This lesson will provide you with the steps necessary to successfully convert between kilograms and grams. And you can use what you learn here when converting between other units as well.

Steps to Solving the Problem

You're on a game show and the host asks you how many grams are in 1 kilogram. You don't know! What do you do? Don't worry; I'm here for you. Grams and kilograms are metric units of mass, or how much matter a substance contains. Here in the United States we rarely use the metric system, but scientists and most of the world use it, so it's worth taking some time to learn a little more about it (plus you want to win millions on your game show, right?). Grams are represented by the symbol 'g' and kilograms are represented by the symbol 'kg.' There are a couple of ways you can convert, or change, between kilograms and grams so why don't you grab a piece of paper and we will go through the steps. We are going to convert 1 kg to g.

Step 1: Draw some boxes on your piece of paper as seen in image A.

Image A. Step 1.
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Step 2: Place the starting number in the upper left hand box. Here our starting number is 1 kg. Check out image B if you're stuck.

Image B. Place the starting number in the upper left-hand box
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Step 3: Place the same unit that is attached to the starting number in step 2 into the diagonal box. This is so you can cross it out later. See image C.

Image C. Place the corresponding unit diagonal from the starting unit
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Step 4: Figure out the relationship between kilograms and grams and place those numbers in the boxes in the second column. The second column is essentially what is known as a conversion factor, but we will need to know what the relationship between grams and kilograms is. The metric system is great because it is a base-ten system, meaning you can convert between units by multiplying or dividing by 10, 100, 1,000, and so on. The relationship between kilograms and grams is as follows: 1 kg = 1,000 g. In fact, the prefix 'kilo' means 1,000, so a 'kilogram' literally means 1,000 grams. You need to place the 1 next to the kg units and 1,000 grams will go on top. Take a look at image D.

Image D. Place the relationship between the units in the appropriate boxes
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Step 5: If units are diagonal from each other you can cross them out. So go ahead and cross out the kg units.

Image E. Cross off units
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