The basic unit of weight in the metric system is called a gram, and it is equal to the weight of one cubic centimeter of water. This is a very small amount, but it is easy to comprehend.

Just pick up a U.S. dollar bill (or any bank note), and its weight is one gram. Because the gram is too light to be a convenient standard of weight, a larger unit has been chosen. This unit is 1,000 grams.

Following the regular pattern of metric naming, it is called one kilogram. One thousand grams of water occupy a volume of 1,000 cubic centimeters or one liter. So a person need only pick up a plastic one-liter bottle of water to understand how heavy a kilogram is.

Very heavy objects are weighed in tons of 1,000 kilograms each. One thousand kilograms is equal to one metric ton and is not the same as the usual American ton of 907.2 kg.

## Sunday, May 10, 2009

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