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Use the first overview page of this product to teach your students how to properly use a triple beam balance, how to read the rider values, and how to estimate one additional digit to make a precise measurement. Then, use these three fun mini labs to allow them to practice their measuring skills! The fourth mini lab is used to introduce the use of a spring scale, and provides students an inquiry activity to investigate how weight is affected by water.
In the first massing mini-lab, the students choose objects from a "Bowl of Fun!" to practice making precise massings. In the second lab, they work as a team to build a creation out of modeling clay, continually adding to the figure and massing it six times. They find the average mass of the clay that was added each round.
In the third massing lab, groups of students are provided with pennies from various decades. They find the average mass of their pennies, compare it to the average of other groups' pennies, hypothesize why the averages are so different, and design an experimental procedure to test their hypothesis. This is a fun way to review the scientific method, also!
In the fourth lab, students hypothesize an answer to a tricky "boat problem" dealing with the carrying capacity of a boat and the weight of the objects on board. Then, they use spring scales to find the weight of various objects both in air and while submerged in water. The students come to a conclusion that will help them to solve the "boat problem". This lab reiterates the difference between mass and weight.
All materials for these labs are inexpensive and easy to obtain! Detailed teacher notes are provided in the download.