*Kathleen Laib*Show bio

I have been a teacher for 10 years with eight of those years teaching 4th grade. I have a master's of Ed and an ELL Endorsement.

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Instructor:
*Kathleen Laib*
Show bio

I have been a teacher for 10 years with eight of those years teaching 4th grade. I have a master's of Ed and an ELL Endorsement.

A Cubic meter is a unit of measurement used to measure the volume of a cube. Explore the definition of a cubic meter and learn about measuring volume and converting cubic meters to cubic feet, cubic yards, and gallons.
Updated: 12/23/2021

The term '**cubic meter**' may sound complex and fancy, but it's really just the name of a block of space--a cube--that is a very specific size. This cube is a perfect cube. The length, width, and height are all the same: 1 meter. One meter is equal to about 3.28 feet, which is just a little bit longer than a yardstick you might find in your classroom.

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We use 'cubic meter' as a unit to measure the amount of stuff we can fit into that cube, also called the **volume** of the cube. So we could use cubic meters to explain how much cement you would need to fill the patio in your backyard or how much sand you would need to fill your sandbox.

But how do we measure volume? It's different than measuring the distance of a line or the area of a flat shape. To find volume, you measure the space or object from three sides--width, depth, and height--and then multiply the measurements together.

Say, for example, that you want to measure the volume of your swimming pool. You find that it measures 2 meters deep (i.e. height), 10 meters wide (i.e. width), and 12 meters long (i.e. length). To find the cubic meters, you multiply the three together: 2 x 10 x 12 = 240 cubic meters. That's a lot of water!

Sometimes, you need to **convert** (meaning to change) cubic meters to or from another unit of measurement. Say, for instance, that you decided to fill your bathtub with milk, which would require you to convert from cubic centimeters to gallons. Let's explore some common cubic meter conversions, their formulas, and examples of how to convert.

In the United States, we tend to use feet instead of meters. If you find yourself needing to turn cubic meters to cubic feet, you simply need to multiply the number of cubic meters by 35.3147.

Say you want to know the cubic feet of a bookcase. The product description says it is 0.764555 cubic meters. To find the cubic feet, multiply this number by 35.3147. So 0.764555 x 35.3147 = 27 cubic feet.

Yards are units often used in manufacturing and to measure fabrics. One cubic meter contains 1.30795 cubic yards. So to convert cubic meters to cubic yards, simply multiply the number of cubic meters by 1.30795.

Let's say that John, a street maintenance worker, has 3 cubic meters of concrete. He wants to know if it's enough cement to fill a pothole that's 4.5 cubic yards. So he converts to cubic yards by multiplying 3 x 1.30795, which equals 3.924 cubic yards. So no, John does not have enough concrete--he still needs more than half a cubic yard to fill the pothole.

The formula for converting from cubic meters to cubic gallons is: the number of cubic meters x 264.172. That's right, there are 264.172 gallons in a cubic meter!

Let's return to our milk-filled bathtub scenario. Let's say that you have measured your bathtub basin's width, height, and depth, and you found that it is 0.3 cubic meters. So, to convert to gallons, multiply 0.3 x 264.172 to get 79.25 gallons. You're going to need almost 80 gallons of milk to fill your bathtub!

All right, let's take a moment or two to review what we've learned. As we learned, a **cubic meter** is a unit of volume measurement that's 1 meter wide, 1 meter in height, and 1 meter in depth. Remember that **volume**, in this case, is the amount of stuff we can fit into that cube. Sometimes, we need to **convert** (or change) cubic meters to a different unit of measurement. To convert cubic meters to cubic feet, multiply by 35.3147; to cubic yards, multiply by 1.30795; or to gallons, multiply by 264.172.

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