Today's focus is weighing with DIY balance scales!
Yesterday we explored weighing using a spring balance scale which we hope you really enjoyed. Today we would like you to make your own set of DIY balance scales using a clothes hanger, string, two identical containers and a suitable door handle...
Go on a hunt around your house and select a range of different objects, of different weights, remembering that these need to fit in the containers you are using on your DIY scales. Put these items in a bag (not see through). A good amount of objects is between 4-6.
Put a blindfold on your child and ask them to take out two objects of the bag and compare them in their hands and make a prediction. Then take the blindfold off. Your child can then place in the balance scales and compare the weights directly. Were they right? If they get muddled with which is heaviest then spend some time referring back to the spring weight...the heaviest went furthest down on the spring weight, the same with a balance scale.
Your child can now compare weights of different items. They will have to order the items but it won't be as clear as yesterday's spring balance. They will really have to use their thinking and reasoning skills to order. They will need to weigh objects more than once comparing them against other objects to find their right place in order of lightest to heaviest and this may take them a little time. You may need to prompt your child by asking questions to guide their thinking at times of difficulty, but although it goes against our human nature, do give your child time and allow your child to be as independent as you can (even when it looks like they are making a mistake) to help them develop their problem-solving skills.
Need a stepping stone?
You can use your DIY scales to sort items into two groups - heavy and light. They can then compare two objects and identify heavy and light. If you can, then build on this and start again but only offering three objects. They have to then compare and order the three objects. This will allow them to compare and order without getting tangled in comparing lots of objects.
Need a further challenge?
Of course you could build this up so that they had more objects to use. If your child is now confident however why not look at the weighing scales in the kitchen. Show that on a digital scales the number gets bigger, or on a dial then hand moves round further. They can begin to explore the idea of grams. Can they weigh each object from the activity above, record their weight and see if they got them in the right order?