

Environmental Biology Laboratory
Lab 1  Introduction to the Metric System
The History of the Meter
On October 7th 1790, the French Academy of Sciences assigned a commission the task of standardizing units of measurement into a single, logical, scientific system. 6 months later, the commission used the term mètre, which means "measure", to describe a new basic unit of length, now known as the meter.
The meter was defined as the length equal to one tenmillionth of the distance between the North Pole and the Equator.
The meter was defined as the length equal to one tenmillionth of the distance between the North Pole and the Equator.
What is the Metric System?
The metric system is a decimal system of measurement that allows for easier conversion between different metric units of measurement. The United States is one of the very few countries that still uses the English System for some measurements, such as gasoline and road signs. The metric system was invented by the First French Republic back in 1799. It was based on the meter, and over the years has been expanded into larger measurements and subdivisions. The metric system is also known as the International System of Units. Interestingly, the United States remains as the only industrialized country that has not accepted the metric system as its official system of measurement.
The metric system is a decimal system of measurement that allows for easier conversion between different metric units of measurement. The United States is one of the very few countries that still uses the English System for some measurements, such as gasoline and road signs. The metric system was invented by the First French Republic back in 1799. It was based on the meter, and over the years has been expanded into larger measurements and subdivisions. The metric system is also known as the International System of Units. Interestingly, the United States remains as the only industrialized country that has not accepted the metric system as its official system of measurement.
The metric system has inherent convenience it the way that it is set up. All of the prefixes are in powers of 10, which makes conversions much easier that conversions between English system measurements. For example, you can use the chart to assist you in converting from one metric value to another. In order to find out how many millimeters are in 27 meters, you first find the meter on the chart, then count the rows as you go down the table to the row that says "milli". You will find that "milli" is 3 rows BELOW "meters". This means you will move the decimal place to the LEFT by 3 places.
Converting Length Measurements with the Metric System
WHY IS THE ENGLISH SYSTEM SO ODD?
The English System of Measurement is not nearly so easy to work with. The idea of the foot as a unit of measurement actually came from a a man's foot, literally. The foot (the North German foot) measured 13.2 inches. The foot was used as the basis for the measurement of length. The foot then divided into 4 palms. 1 palm was equal 4 thumbs. long, so palms became another unit of measurement. A cubit was made to be 2 feet long and an elne was 4 feet long. A rod was 15 feet, a furlong was 10 rods.... YIKES!
To make matter worse, the "foot" in one region was not equal in length to the "foot" of another region. This held true for all measurements. The lack of standardization made for a convoluted mess of oddly defines measurements that had no basis in any real science. For example, the yard, foot, inch, etc. were changed to 10⁄11 of their previous value. The rod went from 5 old yards to 5 1⁄2 new yards. 15 old feet were now to 16 1⁄2 new feet. The furlong went from 600 old feet (200 old yards) to 660 new feet (220 new yards). The acre went from 36,000 old square feet to 43,560 new square feet. Converting Between English and Metric Units of Measurement
MASS vs WEIGHT When we measure MASS, we are only considering the amount of matter the object/entity is made up of. In contrast, WEIGHT takes into consideration the force of gravity exerted on the object.
In the metric system, weight is measured as Newtons. Newtons is a measure of FORCE. It refers to the force exerted on an object with mass by the gravitational pull it is exposed to. 
Click on the Image to go to the EXPLORATORIUM WEB PAGE and see what you would weigh on other worlds! www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/weight/

Mass is constant and does not change with respect to the gravitational pull that acts on the object. It is the scientific measure of the amount of matter an object is made up of. No matter where you are at given moment in time, mass is constant.
Did you know you weigh more at sea level than you would on a mountain top?
Did you know you weigh more at sea level than you would on a mountain top?
 Gravity exerts more force on you as you get closer to the Earth's core. So if you want to lose weight, move to the mountain top! Unfortunately, you mass would not change when you make this move.
Formula: W = MG
Where: (W) = Weight
(M) = Mass
(g) = Gravitational Acceleration
The value of (g) on Earth is = 9.8 m/s/s . The value of g changes when the acceleration due to gravitation changes.
How to convert Grams to Pounds1 gram (g) is equal to 0.00220462262185 pounds (lbs).
1 g = 0.00220462262185 lb
The mass m in pounds (lb) is equal to the mass m in grams (g) divided by 453.59237:
m(lb) = m(g) / 453.59237
Where: (W) = Weight
(M) = Mass
(g) = Gravitational Acceleration
The value of (g) on Earth is = 9.8 m/s/s . The value of g changes when the acceleration due to gravitation changes.
How to convert Grams to Pounds1 gram (g) is equal to 0.00220462262185 pounds (lbs).
1 g = 0.00220462262185 lb
The mass m in pounds (lb) is equal to the mass m in grams (g) divided by 453.59237:
m(lb) = m(g) / 453.59237
TEMPERATURES
The United States is one of the very few countries that uses degrees Fahrenheit as the measurement for temperature. The unit, degrees Fahrenheit was developed in the 1700's by G. Daniel Fahrenheit).
The unit of measurement for temperature used by pretty much the rest of the world, is degrees Celsius which was developed in the 18th Century. Sometimes for scientific temperature measurements, especially relating to chemistry and physics, is Kelvin. The Kelvin system has no negative numbers and goes as low as the theoretical "absolute zero." As energy is taken away from an atom or molecule, the temperature is asymptotically decreased approaching, but never reaching, "absolute zero." The chemical properties of matter at its most fundamental level changes as we approach absolute zero. Liquid helium has been shown to go through glass and defy gravity at these extremely cold temperatures of only a few thousandths. 
The three different temperature scales have been placed sidebyside in the chart here (created by Scientist Cindy of www.scientistcindy.com) for comparison.
CONVERTING BETWEEN F and C
They both measure the same thing (temperature!), but use different numbers:
But 180/100 can be simplified to 9/5,
and 100/180 can be simplified to 5/9, so this is the easiest way: °C to °F Multiply by 9, then divide by 5, then add 32 °F to °C Deduct 32, then multiply by 5, then divide by 9We can write each as a formula like this: 
Fahrenheit is a temperature scale created by Daniel Gabriel Farenheit that bases the boiling point of water at 212 and the freezing point at 32.
Celsius to Fahrenheit: (°C × 9/5) + 32 = °F
Fahrenheit to Celsius: (°F − 32) x 5/9 = °C
Measuring in Multiple Dimensions
Volume
3Dimensions  Sometimes we need to know how much total space a 3dimensional object take up. This measurement is called VOLUME. For example, in order to measure the volume of an object like a cube, we must measure 3 dimensions; the length, the width and the height.
For other regularly shaped objects, the field of geometry has given us several formulas for finding volume. For example, the formula for calculating the volume of a cone, a prism and a sphere are shown below.
