May 03, 2006
When I begin my unit on the metric system, I draw seven stair steps. I teach the phrase, 'Kangaroos Hopping Down Mountains Drinking Chocolate Milk.' I place each word on a step. The first letter represents the metric prefixes K=km(kilometer), H=hm(hectometer), D=dkm(dekameter), M=m(meter), D=dm(decimeter), C=cm(centimeter), M=mm(millimeter). The amount of steps you move equals the number of places one must move the decimal. If you move down the steps, the decimal moves to the right. If you move up, decimal goes to the left. For example, to change 3km to mm, move six spaces down the steps or 6 places to the right, 3km = 3,000,000 mm.