First, you need to know your basic units and how they relate to each other.

1km = 1000m
1m = 100cm
1cm = 10mm

1tonne = 1000kg
1kg = 1000g
1g = 1000mg


1L = 1000cc
1L = 100cl
1cl = 10ml
1ml = 1cc

When you convert from a larger unit to a smaller unit you multiply
(for example, for every 1m you have 100cm, so you need to multiply by 100 to get metres in centimetres)

When you convert from a smaller unit to a larger unit you divide
(for example, for every 1000g you have 1kg, you have to divide by 1000 to get grams in kilograms)

How to convert between units of areas

It is important to remember that areas are not units of 'cm' but 'cm2', it is no longer a length.

1m2 means a 1m by 1m square. This means a 100cm by 100cm square. So the area of this square in cm is 100cm x 100cm = 10,000cm2

For example

What is 5cm2 in mm2?

5cm2 is the same as 5 lots of 1cm2 squares (It is NOT a square that 5cm by 5cm, as that would give you a 25cm2 area!)

A 1cm2 area is given by a 1cm by 1cm square. So 1cm2 is a 1cm x 1cm square. This is the same as a 10mm x 10mm square. So the area of one such square, in millimeters squared, is 100mm2. Hence 5cm2 = 500mm2.

How to convert between units of volume

We use the same method for converting between units of areas to converting between units of volume.

Volumes are in cm3, it has 3 dimensions!

A 10mm3 is cube with all sides 10mm (10mm x 10mm x 10mm). This means a cube with all sides 1cm (1cm x 1cm x 1cm). The volume of this cube is 1cm3.

For example

What is 3cm3 in m3?

A solid that has a volume of 3cm3, has the same volume as 3 cubes that have volumes of 1cm3.

A 1cm3 is a cube with all 3 sides of 1cm. This is the same as a cube with all 3 sides 0.01m. So the volume of one such cube, in metres cubed, is 0.01m x 0.01m x 0.01m = 0.00001m3. Hence 3cm3 = 0.00003m3.



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