*Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 11340*

Who is King Henry? Was he the "liter" of a country? Did he have a "gram" and grandpa? "King Henry" is a way to remember the different units of metric measurement. Conversion is easy, using decimals!

categories

subject

Math

learning style

Kinesthetic, Visual

personality style

Lion, Beaver

Grade Level

Intermediate (3-5)

Lesson Type

Dig Deeper

**King Henry ****died unexpectedly drinking**** chocolate milk.**

What does this wacky saying have to do with the metric system?

You should recall that throughout this *Metric Measurement *series of **Related Lessons**, found in the right-hand sidebar, it has been mentioned that the metric system revolves around *decimals*.

It has also been mentioned that all units of measurement (length, weight, and volume) have a *root word*, and you change out the prefix at the beginning of the word to describe different measurements. The prefixes that are used include:

- kilo-
- hecto-
- deka-
- deci-
- centi-
- milli-

By lining up these prefixes in a chart, you can easily figure out how many centimeters are in a kilometer, and how many milliliters are in a liter. This is where King Henry comes in!

By remembering the mnemonic device (saying) used to help you memorize and retain information, "King Henry Died Unexpectedly Drinking Chocolate Milk," you can remember how to set up your chart. Each word in the King Henry phrase represents a metric unit:

King |
kilo- |

Henry |
hecto- |

Died |
deka- |

Unexpectedly |
unit |

Drinking |
deci- |

Chocolate |
centi- |

Milk |
milli- |

When you look at the chart, is there one unit that doesn't look like the others? If you see it, tell your teacher or parent.

"Unit" on the chart looks a little different from the other terms. This is because "unit" does not represent a prefix. *Unit* stands for the base unit being used (meters, grams, or liters).

The King Henry phrase also helps you remember one other important piece of information. The order helps you remember the *value* of each unit.

A kilo- always represents the *largest* metric unit, and a milli- always represents the *smallest* metric unit. Think about what you have learned about metric units of length. Which unit is the largest? Which unit is the smallest? Tell your teacher or parent.

A kilometer is the largest metric unit of length and a millimeter is the smallest metric unit of length. To learn more about the value of each unit, watch *Understanding the Metric System* by Smith Math Academy (below):

After the video, discuss the following questions with a teacher or parent:

- What are the three base units in the metric system?
- What is the value of one dekameter?
- What is the value of one milliliter?
- What is the value of one decigram?

As you saw in the video, the metric system is based on sets of 10. You move up or down the prefix scale by adding a zero or taking away a zero, and by moving the decimal.

Now, let's practice setting up the chart so you can use it to help you move your decimals. Copy the following chart onto a separate piece of paper. You will notice that each letter on the chart represents a letter from the King Henry phrase, or a metric unit:

Now, watch the video below to practice moving the decimal to make metric conversions. Use the chart you copied on your paper to follow along with the examples shown in the video. [NOTE: Base and unit refer to the same location on the chart.]

*Converting Metric Units using King Henry *by SmithMathAcademy:

Once you get the hang of metric conversions, they are fun and easy.

Move on to the *Got It?* section to practice using your chart to make metric conversions.

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