The Power of the Metric System
Page 2 of 2
Since the focus here is on the 10-to-1 relationship, we can choose different units to place in the ones, column, and draw attention to the fact that the 10-to-1 relationship is maintained.
|103 (thousands)||102 (hundreds)||101 (tens)||100 (ones)|
In addition to emphasizing the 10-to-1 relationship, we can also use a chart like this to inductively discover the meanings of the metric prefixes. The chart makes clear that deka means ten of the reference units, hecto means 100 of the reference units, and kilo means 1,000 of the reference units. What is less clear, but still accessible through concentrated study of the charts, is that deci means 1⁄10 of, centi means 1⁄100 of, and milli means 1⁄1,000 of.
Again, because of the alignment between the metric system and the base-10 number system, we can obtain increasing levels of precision without having to resort to esoteric fractional numbers. Every step toward greater precision is a step of another power-of-ten partition. Meters can be partitioned into decimeters, decimeters can be partitioned into centimeters, centimeters can be partitioned into millimeters, millimeters can be partitioned into micrometers, and micrometers can be partitioned into nanometers! We need not stop there, because there are additional prefixes available to us. The point is, there is always another level of precision available through another act of partitioning, and that further level of partitioning is always in terms of the 10-to-1 relationship. When we realize that partitioning is a special kind of decomposition, we realize once again the importance of this powerful idea.
Further enhance your math curriculum with more Professional Development Resources for Teaching Measurement, Grades K-5.
Elementary Mathematics: Pedagogical Content Knowledge, by James E. Schwartz, is designed to sharpen pre-service and in-service teachers' mathematics pedagogical content knowledge. The five "powerful ideas" (composition, decomposition, relationships, representation, and context) provide an organizing framework and highlight the interconnections between mathematics topics. In addition, the text thoroughly integrates discussion of the five NCTM process strands.
Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month
May is Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month! Don't overlook this opportunity to study and enjoy activities about the history and culture of Asian-Pacific American communities.
The recent rash of tornadoes in Oklahoma, which killed at least two dozen people, may have your students wondering why such natural disasters occur, how they may be affected by them, and what they can do to help. Use these resources to teach the geography of Oklahoma and the Southwestern United States, to explain tornadoes, and to discuss the resulting crises with your class.
Top 10 Galleries
Explore our most popular Top 10 galleries, from Top 10 Behavior Management Tips for the Classroom and Top 10 Classroom Organization Tips from Veteran Teachers to Top 10 Free (& Cheap) Rewards for Students and Top 10 Things Every Teacher Needs in the Classroom. We'll help you get organized and prepared for every classroom situation, holiday, and more! Check out all of our galleries today.
May Calendar of Events
May is full of holidays and events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Backyard Games Week (5/23-29) and Memorial Day (5/27). Plus, celebrate Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month, Clean Air Month, and Physical Fitness & Sports Month all May long!
Common Core Lessons & Resources
Is your school district adopting the Common Core? Work these new standards into your curriculum with our reading, writing, speaking, social studies, and math lessons and activities. Each piece of content incorporates the Common Core State Standards into the activity or lesson.