When teaching students to convert units in the metric system, we need to ask four questions:

1) is my unit changing to a larger unit or smaller unit?

(for this, they need to know the relative size of the units measured)

2) is my number going to get larger or smaller?

(if my unit gets larger, my number gets smaller, and vice versa)

* I remind the students you can get more ants in a room than elephants.

3) should my decimal move right or left?

(upright - or if my number is increasing, move the decimal right, if

smaller, move the decimal left)

4) how many places will the decimal move?

(for most questions in 4th grade, then answer will be 3 places UNLESS, I

am changing centimeters to meters (2 places) or to millimeters (1 place)

* I have the students count the number of zeros in the number of one

unit in the other (EX: 100 cm = 1 meter, so 2 zeros mean to move the

decimal 2 places).

1) is my unit changing to a larger unit or smaller unit?

(for this, they need to know the relative size of the units measured)

2) is my number going to get larger or smaller?

(if my unit gets larger, my number gets smaller, and vice versa)

* I remind the students you can get more ants in a room than elephants.

3) should my decimal move right or left?

(upright - or if my number is increasing, move the decimal right, if

smaller, move the decimal left)

4) how many places will the decimal move?

(for most questions in 4th grade, then answer will be 3 places UNLESS, I

am changing centimeters to meters (2 places) or to millimeters (1 place)

* I have the students count the number of zeros in the number of one

unit in the other (EX: 100 cm = 1 meter, so 2 zeros mean to move the

decimal 2 places).