Table of Contents for #05 Weighing:
Preparation and Support
A TOPS Model for Effective Science Teaching Getting Ready Gathering Materials Sequencing Task Cards Gaining a Whole Perspective Long Range Objectives Review/Test Questions
Activities and Lesson Notes
- 1. Build an Equal-Arm Balance (1)
- 2. Build an Equal-Arm Balance (2)
- 3. Build an Equal-Arm Balance (3)
- 4. Seeds and Paper Clips
- 5. A Question of Bias
- 6. Paper Clip Weight Standard
- 7. Balance Sensitivity (1)
- 8. Weighing Water
- 9. Gram Standard
- 10. Lightweights
- 11. Heavyweights
- 12. Spare Change
- 13. Balance Sensitivity (2)
- 14. Coin Graph
- 15. Spring Scale
- 16. Scales and Balances
- 17. Going, Going, Gone
- 18. Letter Weighing
- 19. Invent a Weight Standard
- 20. Help Yourself
Supplementary Cut Outs
balance beams and squares graph paper
Complete Master List for #05 Weighing:
Key: (1st/2nd/3rd) denote needed quantities: (1st) enough for 1 student doing all activities; (2nd) enough for 30 students working in self-paced pairs; (3rd) enough for 30 students working in pairs on the same lesson. Starred* items may be purchased below.
- 1/15/15: scissors -- heavy-duty to cut corrugated cardboard
- 1/5/5: bottle white glue
- 4/100/100: lined index cards
- 1/2/2: corrugated cardboard at least 30 cm long (boxes or flat sheets)
- * 2/40/50: straight pins
- * 1/3/3: boxes paper clips -- one brand only
- * 2/60/60: wooden clothespins
- 1/30/30: medium-sized tin cans
- * 1/3/3: rolls masking tape
- 1/3/3: paper punch tools
- 3/80/80: small paper drinking cups with flat bottoms
- * 10/150/150: light-duty rubber bands
- * 1/30/30: heavy-duty rubber bands
- 1/2/2: packages long-grained white rice
- 1/1/1: packages unpopped popcorn
- 1/1/1: packages pinto beans
- 10/100/100: coins of each kind: pennies, nickels, and dimes
- * 0.1/0.5/1: cups oil-based clay — 1 cup = 1/2 pound
- 1/2/2: packages notebook paper
- 1/10/10: metric rulers
- * 1/5/10: graduated cylinders — 10 ml capacity
- 1/1/1: water source
- 1/5/10: hand calculators (optional)
- 1/5/5: cups clean, dry gravel
- 1/5/10: size-D batteries, dead or alive
- 1/10/10: meter sticks or yard sticks
- * 1/30/30: birthday candles
- 1/5/10: books of matches
- 2/60/60: envelopes -- legal or personal size
- various: materials to use as a weight standard. Use whatever you have on hand. Useful items might include: thumbtacks, washers, beans, rice, straws, heavy string, clay, scissors, eyedroppers, spoons, a hole punch.
- 1/1/1: large bowl
Candles - birthday
Needed for #09 Floating and Sinking, #11 Oxidation, and #14 Kinetic Model.
Clay - modeling
Sold by the 100 gram stick, about 1/4 cup, in assorted colors (our choice). One stick serves a whole classroom for TOPS applications.
These are handy lab items to keep in stock. We use them as bulb holders, tongs, clips, and more.
Graduated Cylinder - 10 mL
shatter resistant plastic on stable base
An important lab inquiry tool for measuring small liquid volumes.
size #1, steel, box of 100
Paper clips have 1001 uses in TOPS experiments, and science in general. Feel free to use paper clips you already have, but be aware that different brands come in different sizes and weights. In experiments where uniformity is important, don't mix brands.
Rubber Bands - assorted
10 grams each of thin, medium and thick
You get 30 grams of soft, strong, durable rubber bands: thin #16 (about 50), medium #32 (about 20), and heavy-duty #64 (about 10). These sizes are specifically selected to work in most TOPS experiments.
steel, one and 1/16 inch long
Used in many TOPS experiments. Sometimes required for their magnetic properties. Don't purchase aluminum straight pins by mistake.
Tape - masking
3/4 inch x 55 yd roll
A handy science supply used in most TOPS modules.
Teaching Tips for #05 Weighing:
We encourage improvisation - it's one of the main goals of our hands-on approach! You and your students might invent a simpler, sturdier or more accurate system; might ask a better question; might design a better extension. Hooray for ingenuity! When this occurs, we'd love to hear about it and share it with other educators. Please send ideas and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Science Education Standards (NRC 1996) for #05 Weighing:
These 20 Activity Sheets promote excellence in science teaching by these NSES criteria:
Teachers of science...
A: ...plan an inquiry-based science program. (p. 30)
B: ...guide and facilitate learning. (p. 32)
C: ...engage in ongoing assessment of their teaching and of student learning. (p. 37)
D: ...design and manage learning environments that provide students with the time, space, and resources needed for learning science. (p. 43)
These 20 Activity Sheets contain fundamental content as defined by these NSES guidelines (p. 109).
Represent a central event or phenomenon in the natural world.
Represent a central scientific idea and organizing principle.
Have rich explanatory power.
Guide fruitful investigations.
Apply to situations and contexts common to everyday experiences.
Can be linked to meaningful learning experiences.
Are developmentally appropriate for students at the grade level specified.
Unifying Concepts and Processes
NSES Framework: Systems, order, and organization Evidence, models and explanation Constancy, change, and measurement Evolution and equilibrium Form and function
Core Concepts/Processes: An equal-arm balance measures mass. A spring balance measures weight.
Science as Inquiry (content standard A)
NSES Framework: Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations. Design and conduct a scientific investigation. Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data. Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations. Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions. Communicate scientific procedures and explanations. Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
Core Inquiries:Understand the nature of balance sensitivity and instrument bias. Distinguish between weight and mass.
Physical Science (content standard B)
NSES Framework: Properties and changes of properties in matter Motions and forces
Core Content: Balance equilibrium Centering Sensitivity and stability Sensitivity and load Restoring forces Reproducibility Trueness Mass and weight
Science and Technology (content standard E)
NSES Framework: Abilities of technological design Understanding about science and technology
Core Content: Build an equal arm balance sensitive to 0.01 grams.