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scaling and proportion

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The metric system is based on tens. This makes it easy to convert between various units once you know what the prefix means (the part before -meter).

kilometer (km) = 1000 meters

centimeter (cm) = 0.01 meters  (or 100 cm = 1 meter)

millimeter (mm) = 0.001 meters (or 1,000 cm = 1 meter)

 

The following is a list of prefixes from largest to smallest:

Kilo, Hecto, Deka, X, Deci, Centi, Milli

The X stands for the base unit (in this case meters). Each shifts by a factor of 10.

0.001 km = 0.01 hm = 0.1 dam = 1 m = 10 dm = 100 cm = 1000 mm

 

You can memorize the order by remembering: "King Henry Died - Drinking Chocolate Milk."

If you have a specific problem, I'd be happy to provide an example.