Session 3, Part B:
Metric Units

In This Part: Length | Liquid Volume | Mass | Reasoning With Balance Scales

Measures of liquid volume, sometimes referred to as capacity, include the liter (L) and the milliliter (mL). These terms are holdovers from an older version of the metric system and, because they are so well known, are approved for use with the current SI. Volume, whether liquid or solid, is a measure of space. Solid volume is measured using cubic meters (m3) as the base unit. Liquid volume is most often measured using liters. In Session 8, we will explore measures of solid volume in detail, but we will begin to examine the relationships among measures of solid and liquid volume in this session.

By definition, a liter is equivalent to 1,000 cm3 (or one 1 dm3). This leads to the conclusion that 1 mL is equivalent to 1 cm3. Large volumes may be stated in liters but are usually recorded in cubic meters. Note 7

Problem B4

 a. Use metersticks and masking tape to construct a cubic meter. The metersticks will form the edges of the cubic meter. Note 8 b. Make a list of measures equivalent to 1 m3 (for example, using cubic decimeters, cubic centimeters, cubic milliliters, and liters).

Problem B5

Estimate the capacity of the following in liters or milliliters:

 • A teacup • A thimble • A car's gas tank

 Problem B6 Sometimes in medical situations, we hear of someone receiving an injection of 3 cc of medicine. What do you think this measure, 3 cc, represents?

 Problem B7 Examine a 1 L bottle. In addition to the liquid, there is some air space in the bottle. So what is a liter -- the amount of liquid, or the entire volume of the bottle? Find out by pouring the liquid into a graduated 1 L or 500 mL container. Try this with a 2 L or 3 L bottle as well. Note 9 How much liquid is actually in a 1 L bottle? In a 2L bottle?

 Problem B8 The average woman has a lung capacity of about 4.4 L, and the average man has a lung capacity of about 5.8 L. What is their lung capacity in cubic decimeters? Compare the two units.

Next > Part B (Continued): Mass

 Session 3: Index | Notes | Solutions | Video