Which Weighs More? Weights and Measurements STEM Activity

Ever since we decided to get a balance scale, my boys have been obsessed with using it…as a catapult. While I encourage their exploration and creativity, I figured it was time to teach them how to really use the balance scale along with my spiffy kitchen scale. We added this “Which Weighs More?” weights and measurements STEM activity to our homeschool lessons agenda.

 

Explore weights and measurements with this STEM activity--which weighs more? STEM Education | Homeschool | Measuring | Science | Mathematics | Worksheets | Balance Scale | Weight Scale | Early Childhood Education | STEM Challenge | Learning Activity | Teachers | 1st Grade | Free Printable | STEM Activity | Science Activity | Math Activity | STEM for KidsGreat for Pinning Image Pin It Button

 

The boys were able to go around the house and choose items they wanted to weigh against each other. I helped choose the items for the examples here.

The heavier objects were weighed on the kitchen scale and we wrote down the weights to compare while the smaller, lighter objects were placed on the balance scale.

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 1

 

We started off our weights and measurements STEM activity with two items that measured the same length, but had different weights.

You can see the worksheet I gave to E so he could record his hypothesis as well as the measurements and results of our experiment.

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 6

 

First he had to write down which objects we were working with (okay, so I wrote down most of it…but writing isn’t his strong suit so he dictated and I helped him out with writing.). For test one, we wrote “crayon” and “feather.”

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 3

 

Now he had to find some measurement for the objects. For this particular set, we went by length as measured on a ruler. Both measured at 3 inches, so we wrote that down.
 


 
On to the hypothesis. I asked him which one he thought would weigh more and why he thought that. We wrote down his answer. Sometimes the answers were very basic (i.e. “Because it weighs more”) so I tried to get him to explain a little further or would explain more after the results.

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 4

 

Test it out. Since the crayon and the feather were light, we used the balance scale. E had actually tried the kitchen weight scale, but the feather weight did not show up so I pointed out how it was lighter than that could measure and we moved over to the balance scale and carefully placed one item in each side.

He then had to tell me which one weighed more (and I had previously explained that the ones that weigh more will “weigh down” their side because they are heavier and the lighter object will be the one in the air.).

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 7

 

We wrote down the answer on the worksheet along with “more” and “less” or “heavy” and “light” or the actual weight measurements where accurate. Use different words to describe this as it really helps children understand the concept and associate each of the words evenly. You can also teach children the greater than and less than symbols and include those in the boxes when using the balance scale or between the boxes to show the association between the two object weights if you used the kitchen scale.

Discuss the results afterwards. For the crayon and the feather, we discovered that just because the two objects were relatively the same size, it does not mean they will weigh the same. The crayon is a denser, heavier material so it weighs more than the fluffy feather.

We tried with various other items too. The boys loved weighing the popcorn compared to the popcorn kernels. They discovered that bigger objects do not always weigh more than smaller objects.

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 9

 

By the way, don’t you just LOVE these pop quiz measuring cups?! Oh man. These are perfect for math geeks (holiday or birthday gift ideas?!).

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 10

 

Note: the popcorn did not show a weight on my kitchen scale until we had a pretty good amount in there, so we went with 1 cup each of the popcorn and the kernels so both could be measured accurately on the kitchen scale. An alternative would be to compare one kernel with one popped kernel on the balance scale.

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 11

 

S was being silly!

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 8

 

We also compared dollar bills to coins to demonstrate how more money does not mean more weight. You could include a Biblical application or historical application here and discuss how they used to measure money by weight but now we use paper bills.

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 12

 

Another group of items we compared was two sticks of butter to one stick of cream cheese. I already knew they would measure the same, as the package states the weights, but E did not. He was quite surprised to learn that two sticks of butter has the same weight as one stick of cream cheese. He had guessed two sticks would be more. This opened up an opportunity to discuss product packaging and ounces. You can also tie this into a baking lesson (there is so much science and math to be learned in the kitchen and it is a great way to get kids, boys especially, interested in cooking/baking.).

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 15

 

Finally we compared a couple things by size. We used a mini paper cup and compared it to a pompom. E examined the cup and noticed it was hollow on the inside while the pompom had a solid center. He guessed the pompom would weigh more. We learned that even though the cup had a hollow center, the wax-coated paper was still heavier than the furry fabric pompom.

 


 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 14

 

We then tried a small metal screw against the same pompom. Of course, we had guessed in favor of the metal screw, since metal is heavy, but the weights ended up being just the same.

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity 13

 

S was being sneaky.

 

Through these activities, you can discuss and teach:

  • Size and volume
  • Density (solid, hollow, thick, thin)
  • Mass
  • Measurements (inches, cups, larger, smaller)
  • Weights (heavier, lighter, ounces, pounds)
  • Comparison symbols ( > < = )
  • Balance
  • Material types and characteristics (generally heavy metal, generally light fabric)
  • Observation and coming up with a hypothesis
  • Problem solving (how much of the lighter object can you add so it is equal to the heavier object in weight)
  • How to read scales

 

What Weighs More STEM Activity Square

 

Want the printable worksheet we used? Print it below!

 

A pop-up window will show; scroll down with the scroll bars or with the page down or down arrow buttons on your keyboard to download. The file will be instantly sent to the email provided.
 

Download Your Free STEM Activity Weight Worksheet



 
This post is part of the A-Z Guide to Understanding STEM and STEAM! Check out the other STEM education posts on Little Bins for Little Hands.
 
STEM Education Guide
 

What is your favorite STEM activity? Share with me in the comments!

 
Read also: Ways to Encourage STEM Education At Home and School and Our Favorite Engineering and Math Manipulatives for Kids
 

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4 Comments

  1. That is a great activity! You guys learned about a lot of different things all in just one activity. That’s so neat! I also like the colored ruler, very artistic.

  2. Pingback: STEM Resources An A-Z Guide To Understanding STEM

  3. I am not clear on how this math related activity is a STEM activity. How are kids going through the STEM design loop in this activity? I understand that they have a question they are being asked to answer and must experiment to find the answer, but I did not think that those two things made it STEM. STEM has a “problem” and students ask questions, imagine possible solutions, make a plan, decide what they need to do and which tools and materials are needed, are given constraints, experiment, determine what improvements are still necessary, and then repeat the process over and over again as necessary. Although this activity is worthwhile and fun, I am just not sure how it is STEM. I am still in the beginning stages of learning about STEM and see so many experiments online that say they are STEM but many of experiments seem to be missing the components of STEM that I have been learning about….there’s supposed to be a problem that needs to be solved, not just a question to be answered, and the responsibility for determining how to solve the problem and (often) which tools/resources to use is placed on the children.

    • Hi Margaret,

      As far as I have researched, STEM, especially at the age group that would be using this activity, seeks to introduce children to the idea of using science, technology, engineering, and mathematics together rather than treating them as separate subjects in an attempt to help them see “the bigger picture” and how it applies to everyday life. In this activity, children will use technology (weight scales) to measure weight (math) and observe scientific concepts (such as mass) in how they relate to things around them. The problem is that they need to find objects that are heavier. They need to figure out “Which weighs more?” to grasp an understanding that just because an object is larger it doesn’t have to weigh more. Children need to problem solve to figure out which items weigh more and I made it an open invitation for children to come up with objects around them they would like to weigh. They can guess an object would weigh more, but they won’t know until they test it. They can continue trying to find something around the house that would weigh more than their first object. They can even build items and combine objects to make something heavier than the other object they are testing. Since my son is only in 1st grade, this was also a great opportunity to help him understand how this concept applies in the kitchen and how to read various types of scales. You could even make it more fun and build a balance scale yourself (ours comes in multiple parts, so he had to put it together and we observed how the fulcrum has to be at the center so it can accurately measure which weighs more.). We like to answer “why/how” questions as we test things, too. Why does the fulcrum have to be in the center? Why or how does the needle move when we place items on the kitchen scale? It gives a better idea of how common household tools work as well as how to measure household objects while answering the many questions my son has through experimenting.

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