You Are At: AllSands Home > Kids > Education > The metric system
As a science teacher for over 20 years I have heard just about all the arguements for and against the use of the metric system. My conclusion to the whole thing is that the main opposition to the use of the Metric System is cause by a lack of familiarity with many of the terms. Because I was a science teacher I was aware that the Metric System (know as SI to us technical folks) was used almost universally and generally made a lot more sense than the disorderly English System most of my students and their families clung to so defiantly.

Then one day it came to me that there is one place we use metrics everyday, that was the in or money. So I developed this explanation of the Metric System.

Did you know that our money is metric?
No?
Well it is and I can show you how it is!
First think of the dollar as the basic unit, and answer this question: "How many cents are there in a dollar?" The answer of course is 100. If your student hesitates or doesn't know what a cent is(You'd be amazed how many people only know them as pennies!)take out a penny and show them the ONE CENT written on the back, ask again.
Once they get the answer ask: "How many years are there in a century?" If they don't answer correctly go back and ask the number of cents in a dollar again, followed by a repeat of the question of years in a century. When this is done just ask:
"How many centimeters are there in a meter?"
"How many centigrams are there in a gram?
"How many centiliters are there in a liter?"

The key here is to get the student to recognize that cent is associated with "100". Then introduce the dime as a 1/10th of a dollar. What then becomes clear is the relationship between the dollar and the dime and the "dime-meter" in place of the term deci-meter. The point that it takes 10 cent to equal a dime, and ten dimes to make a dollar. This building on factors of ten doesn't end there, have you ever heard of millage?
If you vote on taxes in most localities they raise or lower assessments by parts per thousand or mills.

So what we see in our money is the same basic system that we spend so much time worrying about arguing over and trying to avoid in other measurements. Our basic unit is the dollar. One-one thousandth of which is a mill; one-one hundredth of which is a cent; and one tenth of which is a dime. In the metric system the basic units are meter for lenght, liter for capacity or volume, and gram for mass. Put milli, centi, and deci- in front and you have the same familiar divisions you use which your money! The Metric System: It's not so strange after all!