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Measurements and Prefixes

Measurements and Prefixes

Author: Nathan Lampson

This lesson will introduce the prefixes used in the Metric System.

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The metric system is a system of measurement used throughout the world and within the scientific community.  When measuring with the metric system, prefixes are used to describe the quantity of a unit.  For example, the metric unit for distance is the meter.  In order to describe a distance of one thousand meters the prefix kilo can be used.  One thousand meters is equal to one kilometer.


In the metric system a group of base units is modified by prefixes in order to display larger or smaller quantities.  Different units describe different forms of measurement.




If a planet is 5,000,000,000 meters away, you can say that the planet is 5 Gigameters away.  Giga is a prefix that multiplies the base unit (meters) by 1,000,000,000 times.

Measurements and Prefixes