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Education Resources on the Metric System (SI)

The International System of Units (SI), commonly known as the metric system, is the international standard for measurement. SI use in product design, manufacturing, marketing, and labeling is essential for United States industry's success in the global marketplace. SI measurement system familiarity and fluency must be developed along the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) career pipeline to produce an U.S. engineering workforce with this essential 21st century skill.

This collection of resources can be used to enrich classroom curriculum and reinforce student learning. These resources are helpful to students as they become familiar with the metric system and learn more about SI basics. This site has numerous educational materials published by NIST that can be downloaded and freely reproduced. Contact the NIST Metric Program regarding handouts available in bulk so that each student can receive a copy, such as NIST SP 365 (a laminated Metric Conversion Card, which has an 8 cm rule on one edge).


conversionNational Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) - July 2015 - PDF


National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) - Jan, 1999

Metric system (SI) knowledge, skills, and abilities are critical education element and measurement science is essential for Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers. Learn more about U.S. professional education organization position on teaching the SI.  


metricpyramidfinalNIST Metric Pyramid - LC 1140 - PDF

Learning the SI? Keep common SI symbols and conversion factors on your desk. Using card stock paper, print out the easy to construct three-dimensional NIST metric pyramid! The pyramid has a list of the metric symbols, and conversion factors for area, temperature, length, and mass.(Great for students and teachers alike)


metcardNIST Children's Activity Cards - PDF

A sheet of printable activity cards that the children can imprint with their name, height, and weight in metric units. (Print off a master copy on A4 paper to replicate as needed. Cut the cards apart at the indicated crop lines.)


bookmarkNIST Bookmark - PDF

A sheet of printable ruled bookmarks with visual references to metric measurement units. (Print off two master copies on A4 paper to replicate as needed, photo copy them back-to-back, and cut them at the indicated crop lines.)


small-presidentsheightsPresidents and Measurements

Presidents’ Day is a national holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February and is as a day where all U.S. presidents are remembered and honored. Enjoy the holiday by exploring these measurement education resources. Read More.



League of SI Superheroes

This comic book-style video animation series has been developed to help middle school students learn about the 7 SI base measurement units. Videos are available on the NIST YouTube Channel.


Schools-Classroom-Activities-AtomNano IQ Quiz

What's your Nano IQ? Learn more about nanotechnology, engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale.
Take this quick quiz developed by the National Science and Technology Council to determine your nanotechnology knowledge.


childrenNIST Kids Page

Find out more about NIST and other measurements in your home by playing fun games such as word search, crossword puzzles, riddles, and much more.


leaders-guide-metric-seminarLeader's Guide for Conducting a Metric Usage Seminar - PDF

This document was created by the U.S. Metric Board with the purpose of providing background and tools to conduct a metric usage seminar based on hands-on learning opportunities for the participants. The seminar consists of background on the metric system, learning metric terms, and practicing making metric measurements. The exercises are designed to help people learn to "think metric" in their daily lives.


books3A Dictionary of Units of Measurement

This site goes beyond the standard definitions of units. The site has good depth on the use of metric unit prefixes, how to write them, and symbols and abbreviations. There is also a history of U.S. measurement and information on other measurement units.


sportsMeasurement in Sport

Measurements are essential to ensuring fairness in sports. SI measurements are used on everything from keeping accurate event times, the correct pressure of sports balls, and measuring competition distances. Learn how measurement plays a big part in providing a level playing field for all athletes.


nist-summ-inst2NIST Summer Institute for Middle School Science Teachers

A two-week workshop for middle school science and math teachers featuring hands-on activities, lectures, tours, and visits with NIST scientists and engineers in their laboratories.

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siglobeSI Teachers Kit: Obtain a free set of metric education resources for your classroom by contacting TheSI@nist.gov (include your name, school, subject, grade level, phone number, and mailing address).

FAQ: How do I get a metric ruler?

Metric rulers are available from many retail vendors, which can be identified by using search terms such as "metric rule," "meter stick," or "metric stick." Printable rulers such as the centimeter Color-square rules, can be color printed on to overhead transparency sheets to make inexpensive metric rulers. You may also be interested in similar printable teaching aids that create a liter cube or a cubic decimeter box, which are easily constructed using cardstock.