Measuring Mass Using the Metric System

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: U.S. Customary Units to Measure Weight

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 Metric Mass Units
  • 1:20 The Conversions
  • 3:10 Example 1
  • 3:30 Example 2
  • 4:00 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

After watching this video lesson, you will know which units for mass are used in the metric system along with how to convert between the units. You will find out which special numbers are used for the conversions.

Metric Mass Units

In this lesson, you will learn about the metric mass units and how to convert between them. The metric mass units are the gram, kilogram, and metric ton. Why do you need to learn about these measurement units, and how do you convert between them? Knowing these measurements and their conversions is a good skill to have, as you will need to show your knowledge in this area on tests, and you may need to perform these calculations in real life when you are traveling abroad. Did you notice that I wrote 'metric ton' instead of simply, 'ton?' This is because the ton that is used in the United States is different than the metric ton used in the metric system. The metric ton can also be referred to as, 'tonne.'

The metric ton, just like the ton used in the United States, is used for measuring very large items, such as cars and trucks. The kilogram is used for measuring things that you and I can pick up and for measuring ourselves. And the gram is used for measuring small things like paperclips or even slices of bread.

Each of these units also has an abbreviation. The gram is abbreviated with a lower-case 'g,' so 5 grams is 5 g. The kilogram is abbreviated as lower-case 'kg,' so 10 kilograms is 10 kg. And the metric ton is abbreviated with a small 't,' so 1 metric ton is written as 1 t.

The Conversions

To convert between grams, kilograms, and metric tons, we make use of how much of each is in the other. This gives you the special number that you need to use to convert.

Because there are 1,000 grams in 1 kilogram, the special conversion number between grams and kilograms is 1,000.

1 kg = 1,000 g

So, to convert from kilograms to grams, you multiply by 1,000 and to convert from grams to kilograms, you divide by 1,000. An easy way to remember whether to multiply or divide is to think of what kind of conversion you are doing. If you are converting from larger to smaller, then you multiply. If you are converting from smaller to larger, then you divide.

The conversion number between metric tons and kilograms is also 1,000 since there are 1,000 kilograms in 1 metric ton.

1 t = 1,000 kg

Going from the metric ton to the kilogram, you multiply by 1,000 since you are going from larger to smaller. Converting kilograms to metric tons, you divide by 1,000 because you are going from smaller to larger.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support