For very small measures, scientific notation can be used. In engineering, we tend to use Engineering Notation - nowadays infrequently referenced in school. Similarly maths teachers usually relate in terms of centi-metres and metres instead of milli-metres which are used in the real world. For preparing students for the world of work, it is vital that they become familiar with the proper units.
And there is so much more than length, area and volume. There are measures for almost everything - seen or unseen (e.g. electrical measures). And kids should be taught how to apply units in their algebraic calculations - making use of cancelling out units above and below (like fractions). This becomes a seriously powerful tool if students go on to study Engineering - getting familiar with dimensional analysis early on puts things into perspective.
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