Metric
Units of Capacity
Capacity
is the amount a container can
hold.
The milliliter
(mL) is a metric unit used to measure the capacities of small
containers.
The liter
(L) is equal to 1,000 mL, so it is used to measure the capacities
of larger containers.

1 mL 

1 metric cup = 250
mL 

1 liter 

Metric
Units of Capacity 
Name

Abbreviation 
Number
of Base Units 
Approximate
Comparison 

Liter 
L 
1 
Half
a large bottle of soda 

Milliliter 
mL 
1/1000 
Half
of an eyedropper 


Conversions 
The
chart above shows the relationships between the units of
milliliter and liter. You can use the chart to
change a measurement from one unit to another unit. 
How
many milliliters are in a 3liter bottle? 
To
change from a larger unit of volume to a smaller unit of
volume, multiply. 
1
liter = ___ milliliters 
Think:
1 L = 1000 mL 
3
x 1000 = 3000 
3
meters = 3000 milliliters 
How
many liters are in 5,000 mL? 
To
change from a smaller unit of volume to a larger unit of
volume, divide. 
5000
mL = ___ L 
Think:
1000 mL = 1 L 
5000
divided by 1000 = 5 
5000
milliliters = 5 liters 


Remember:
To measure an object that
has a small capacity, use milliliters.
To measure an object that
has a larger capacity, use liters.

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